Almost there...

Monday, April 30, 2001

I went to see Bridget Jones Diary this weekend. It really was loads of fun, but in the first twenty minutes, it had me puzzled, then baffled, then highly amused. Colin Firth plays on of the love interests in the film. He was just as dashing, haughty and proud as he was in Pride and Prejudice, which is pretty funny considering his character's name here and there is Mr. Darcy. Discussing this with friends at Malibu Grand Prix on Sunday, it seems this was actually intentional. It was still really amusing in the film itself. It was one of those moments where you get to see what someone with those traits would be like now and then.

Friday, April 27, 2001

I was trying to figure out what looked so wrong with the ads for A Knight's Tale and I finally got it the other day. If you watch the ads, everyone is REALLY CLEAN. I'm just not buying the freshly scrubbed knight look. Nope.

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Midway through the evening at the Plough last night, I realized that I had developed a urinary tract infection. This happens about once every six months to a year for me and it's excruciating every time. What I can't understand is why it isn't simpler to get the needed antibiotics for treatment. I contact the "Advice" nurse for Kaiser and was told I couldn't get antibiotics until the next day. I resigned myself to that and headed home in agony with a plan to consume vast quantities of cranberry juice and Prodium. After lying in bed for a few minutes, I realized that it wasn't going to be that easy and that I was going to have to take my only other way out: going to the ER. We arrived at 12:30. We left at 3:30. I had to teach PeopleSoft Basics today. I got three hours of sleep. All of this could be very easily avoided in any number of ways. Pharmacists should be allowed to distribute antibiotics to women with such crystal clear symptoms. All the doctor asked was if I was allergic to any medications and what my symptoms were. That certainly didn't require 8 years of medical school. Another option that would probably make life much easier for the ER and for those with minor but urgent situations would be to have one doctor or nurse practitioner on call to prescribe over the phone. The ER was overburdened with minor cases because the advice nurses told them (and me) that this was their only course of action. I was not dying. I hadn't had a heart attack. It wasn't life threatening. I shouldn't have been forced to go to the ER. On the other hand, I couldn't very well wait and just allow the infection to get worse. In the three hours I was waiting, it went from uncomfortable to very very painful. By the time I left, I couldn't stand up straight. That needn't have happened if I had gotten the necessary antibiotics sooner. And I should've been able to do that.

I'm well on the road to recover now 14 hours later. I even managed to teach my class at 1:00 today. But there's absolutely no reason why it should've been the ordeal that it was, except that the medical lobby doesn't want to give anyone besides doctors the power to prescibe and cost cutting measures (not having a doc on call on the advice line) meant that I cost my health plan far more money by coming into the ER.

So my dear beloved car has a problem with her clutch. I'm not sure why, but something went wrong. As a result, I've spent the past two days driving an SUV. (Aiiiiiiigh!!!!) I've never really driven an SUV before because I think they are evil, but when I went into Enterprise to get a loaner car, they were all out of everything but a Chrysler Sebring and this Isuzu Trooper 2. I figured it wasn't truly fair to hate something you've never fully experienced, so I took the Trooper. Big mistake. There is very little good about this vehicle. It gets poor gas mileage. It has poor visibility for anything near the ground. It is woefully oversized for the average parallel parking spot. And it feels like it's about to flip over on the cloverleaf to get on the freeway. I have to hop and pull myself up on the steering wheel to get into it. And it really handles like my dad's 1979 Olds Ninety-Eight. It's got sloppy power steering. It's got no guts for acceleration.

I can now say with full indemnity that I have no idea why anyone would buy one of these ridiculous vehicles. Everyone always says they feel safer being up high, but that doesn't really compute. It feels like it would flip over if you ever have to move quickly to avoid a problem on the freeway. I love my car because it's low to the ground and nimble. I can get whereever I need to be fairly painlessly, and I have room to get out of the way of marauding SUV drivers who think they don't have to pay attention because their car will protect them if they get in an accident.

I'm really looking forward to having my car back tomorrow. I love my Saturn. I just wish it were a hybrid vehicle.

So my dear beloved car has a problem with her clutch. I'm not sure why, but something went wrong. As a result, I've spent the past two days driving an SUV. (Aiiiiiiigh!!!!) I've never really driven an SUV before because I think they are evil, but when I went into Enterprise to get a loaner car, they were all out of everything but a Chrysler Sebring and this Isuzu Trooper 2. I figured it wasn't truly fair to hate something you've never fully experienced, so I took the Trooper. Big mistake. There is very little good about this vehicle. It gets poor gas mileage. It has poor visibility for anything near the ground. It is woefully oversized for the average parallel parking spot. And it feels like it's about to flip over on the cloverleaf to get on the freeway. I have to hop and pull myself up on the steering wheel to get into it. And it really handles like my dad's 1979 Olds Ninety-Eight. It's got sloppy power steering. It's got no guts for acceleration.

I can now say with full indemnity that I have no idea why anyone would buy one of these ridiculous vehicles. Everyone always says they feel safer being up high, but that doesn't really compute. It feels like it would flip over if you ever have to move quickly to avoid a problem on the freeway. I love my car because it's low to the ground and nimble. I can get whereever I need to be fairly painlessly, and I have room to get out of the way of marauding SUV drivers who think they don't have to pay attention because their car will protect them if they get in an accident.

I'm really looking forward to having my car back tomorrow. I love my Saturn. I just wish it were a hybrid vehicle.

Friday, April 20, 2001

I'm having one of those days where I'm really glad I'm a Californian.

First Ian sent this a link to this article from the Austin Chronicle. In Texas, it's illegal to sell anything that has the purpose of stimulating genitals. Thank god we've got nice tasteful sex stores here in the Bay Area. I love browsing in Good Vibrations. It really takes the tawdry, tacky feel out of the task of selecting good sex-positive literature or a great lube. Of course, Good Vibrations would be illegal if I lived in Texas. Oddly enough, selling porn isn't illegal in Texas. Isn't the purpose of that to stimulate the genitals, albeit less directly than your average vibrator.

Then there's the article in the Palo Alto Daily News about the one dance club in Provo, Utah. The only dance club in Provo, Utah. A new ordinance was passed that says they have to install surveillance cameras and hire security guards. In fact, anyone wishing to hold a dance party of any kind (uh, Gaskells?) has to have surveillance cameras and security guards. Why? Well in the last three years, there have been 9 calls to the police for disorderly conduct from people there. Of course, the bar down the street has had nearly 25 calls in the same time period. But they don't do anything sinful like dancing there! It brings to mind one time at Janelle's in Sacramento when we were having a dance party there and her crazy next door neighbor called the police because of the noise. (Mind you, this is the same woman who complained the night of the poker party because she could hear the chips rattling.) The police arrived to a roomful of dancers waltzing to Strauss and Tchaikovsky. They were very, very confused and didn't quite know how to deal with us. They asked if we could consider trying to keep it down. We cheerfully said, "No problem. Do you waltz?"

Then I was listening to NPR on my way to the Stanford Linear Accelerator for a tour last night. I got so incensed that I started writing stuff down at the stoplight. It seems that the public television station in Idaho now has to get approval for everything they show, even if it's distributed by PBS and shown nationally. All this is because of a couple of shows that seemed to portay homosexuals as fairly normal people rather than deviant freaks. (Imagine that!) Two shows: It's Elementary and Our House got poeple so riled up that they now have the Idaho Board of Education approving every program prior to broadcast. Plus, the channel has to show broadcast disclaimer before EVERY show that says that they are not promoting illegal activity. It is actually illegal to live as a homosexual in Idaho, and there they don't take it as some weird leftover law on the books from a hundred years ago. Nope. They're serious. If you're a man, living with your life partner, doing nothing untoward in public, they may just arrest you in Idaho. Yikes! Oh and what about that pesky First Amendment anyway? Well, since the Idaho public television station is funded with taxpayer dollars, they shouldn't be able to broadcast anything controversial. No really! The guy they were interviewing really said that! I couldn't believe my ears. I couldn't believe he actually said they shouldn't be able to broadcast ANYTHING controversial. The real punchline is that in the next breath he suggested that there should be equal airtime for non-evolutionary science programs. Not that creation-myth-as-fact is uncontroversial or anything.

Add to this the actions of our charming new president last week when he decided to cut contraceptives out of the health plan for all federal workers. Wasn't there a court ruling about that sort of thing recently? Hopefully Planned Parenthood is preparing a legal case now. I don't think I've made it through a single week since George W. took office that I haven't wanted to scream over something asinine that he's done/been responsible for. Please, oh please, let the democrats come up with a viable candidate for 2004. Please please please!

Meanwhile, in California, or San Francisco to be exact, city workers there are about to get coverage for sex change operations added to the benefits of their health plan. Thank god I live in California. Call me a wacky liberal, hippie, tree hugging, granola-eating, fornicating pagan if you will, but I just can't take offense.

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

I can't believe I didn't know this before now. Queen Victoria, THE Queen Victoria (as in the one that the entire Victorian era is named after) shares my birthday. Now sure, it's no big deal, but all my life on my birthday, I always look in the paper and see the people listed who are born the same day, or some such silliness, and I've never seen that before! In fact, there was never anyone particularly interesting born on my birthday. Apparently that's only true for this century. Okay, to be fair to Bob Dylan fans, it's almost cool to be born the same day as him, but the only other person who's name I recognize played Radar O'Reily on MASH. Sheesh. If I'd known about this sooner, maybe I'd have some explanation for why I enjoy Victorian events and costuming and houses and furniture so much. As it stands, now it's just a wacky coincidence. See what casual browsing of things like memepool will get you?

So I bought a violin last night. Yes, I know I bought a cello just last year, but I have an actual plan for learning to play fiddle. I'm going to Lark in the Morning camp in August and one of the ever so tempting classes is Beginning Fiddle. So that's the big plan, at least to start out. The bigger news associated with that is that Rick bought a bass. This completely destroyed my evil plan to get him one for his birthday, but the upside is that he gets to play with it five months sooner. The groovy little music store we found is on Stevens Creek at San Tomas. They have violins (with a nice case, bow, and rosin) for $149.99. Rick bought his bass, a very nice used Zion, for $199. We've looked around quite a bit, and those prices definitely couldn't be beat.

I also went to the optometrist yesterday to get my vision checked. The one part of that visit I always fear is the eye dilation thing, but they didn't do that this time. Instead, they numbed my eyes with this bizarre yellow drops. Not only did I have bright yellow tears for a while, but my eyes felt like they'd been to the dentist. Bleck! I hope I never have a stroke because I don't like the feeling of numbness. I know that's an oxymoron, but really, it feels creepy!

Monday, April 16, 2001

Headed up to Sacramento for a haircut this weekend. It may sound insane to drive two and a half hours to see your hairdresser, but having never walked away with a bad haircut from Jennifer, and after a lifetime of bad haircuts from everyone else, that is worth it's weight in gasoline.

While in town, we got a chance to go looking at a few music stores and browse a couple of open houses in Land Park. Rick and I are starting to toss around the idea of buying a place. With interest rates so low and housing prices leveling off/falling around here, I think it's time to start getting the ground work laid at the very least. This means finding a realtor, getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, and shopping around. One thing I wanted to find out was just how much the market in Sacramento had changed. For better or worse, it's changed a lot. Prices have really gone up. The good news is that I feel better about paying an absurd price for a place in the bay because it's not really that much different than what we'd pay in Sacramento. The bad news is that Sacramento is no longer the obvious fall back market that it once was. Oh well. All the more reason to stay put and get settled in here. Now if only we could find an acceptable place (2 bedrooms, 1.5 or more baths, in Santa Clara or Mtn. View. or someplace like that) at an acceptable price (around $300,000). I never imagined that I would be considering paying $300,000 for a condo. Wacky.

In other news, we went to Tate's annual Easter party. It was a bit disappointing really. The Sacramento group seems to be really thinning out and going their separate ways. We had our annual egg hunt at least. Everyone puts a promise (or two or three) in a plastic egg. Then Terri hid them and we all found as many as we'd hid. I found a Sushi party from Jeff, and a 3 yummie quiche-like things from Christyn.

On the way home, I read to Rick from Sarah Vowell's book "Take the Canolli". Somehow when I read her book, I channel her voice. It's a weird combination of Oklahoma/North Carolina/Chicago that somehow spews forth. I guess I just really wish it was her reading it on This American Life or something.

I'm off to the Project Fair now. You remember the science fairs in junior high school? Well it's just like that, complete with trifold foam board displays that have been carefully crafted from a combination of charts and graphs and glue sticks. It's all very strange, and truly something only academia could generate. Even in this context, there's the kid who's parent helped him so his project is way cooler than everyone else's. The Delphi project has a Prophecy Wheel and custom fortune cookies. All my project has a lame old demo I made with PowerPoint. At least we brought candy so maybe someone will look at our stuff. Whoa, now I'm channelling my 7th grade self. Egad.

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

So yesterday I experienced my first classic migraine. Well, actually, it started Monday night around 8:00. Sitting on the sofa, polishing off my Gardenburger, Rick got a call from his dad. During the course of their conversation, my field of vision started changing. All around the periphery was watery zig zag lines. I rubbed my eyes, but it didn't get better. I closed one eye and then the other to see which eye it was in only to find out it was both. I kept rubbing and pressing on my eyes trying to get them to stop doing it, but to no avail. I looked around the room and decided it was better to just close my eyes for a while. Then my left hand started getting numb. That's when I started to panic a little. I thought, "Am I having a heart attack? Or a stroke?" Then I thought, "Stay calm, it's probably nothing." Then the little voice on the other shoulder said, "Probably nothing, right. Then why is your hand numb! Oh! And now we're getting a headache in the same place that we've had a headache brewing consistently for the last few months!" It was somewhere around this time that things started getting better. About ten minutes later, Rick got off the phone with his dad and I told him what was going on. I'm not quite sure what he thought of it all. I called the "Advice Nurse" at Kaiser.

~rant~
Now the advice nurse system is basically just a way to see if you are worthy of getting an appointment. At no point in the call did I get any advice. I called and talked to a receptionist type. This person got my basic information - name, card number, address, etc. - and they got me to tell them the first version of my story. I told them what happened and they said I should talk to the nurse. You're not the advice nurse? No. Oh. So then I waited for the nurse. The nurse had me tell the whole story over again. Then she asked several questions. Then she said, "Well, I don't have any more appointments available tonight. How about 1:30 tomorrow." Uh, sure? Okay. Bye. Did she give me any hint as to what it could be? No. Did she suggest any remedies? No. Did she even directly calm my fears about this being life threatening? No. Grumble Grumble Grumble. So with my appointment written down, I headed upstairs to take a shower and go to bed early. I told Rick in the shower that if I die in my sleep tonight, that he should sue Kaiser for malpractice.
~/rant~

It was about this time that the tiny little headache that had started had turned into a raging screaming pounding animal clawing the insides of my head. I crawled into bed, stuffed my head under a pillow, and went promptly to sleep. The next morning I headed to work after snacking on a breakfast of Advil. I was nauseous and still had a whopping headache. When I got to my desk, I started browsing WebMD. I looked up migraines. In ten minutes, all of my fears were assuaged as I read the description of a "classic migraine." Sure enough, it described my symptoms perfectly. Now why couldn't the advice nurse have suggested that last night? I have no idea. Then at least I would've taken some Advil sooner and possibly headed off some of the headache. Grr.

I love the internet. Six or eight years ago I would've had to wait all day to see the doctor and then would've doubted him because I had no real way of confirming his diagnosis without heading to the library. Now when I went to the doctor, I gave him the run down of what happened. He said it sounds like a classic migraine. I agreed. He prescribed Midrin, which worked wonders. I went home and slept off the rest of it knowing that I wasn't dying of a heart attack (which also has the classic symptom of left arm tingling). I think I like the internet best because it allows me to find my own answers rather than having to rely on what others tell me. Sure, it's just others telling me by writing it down, but when two or more people agree on something, I always feel a bit safer than when it's just one voice. I'm kind of kooky that way.

So back on track. Time to build a PowerPoint demo. Bleh!

Monday, April 09, 2001

You know, I wish weblogs/Blogger had existed back in 1997. I really wanted to write down and publish my day to day life back then. It was so surreal. I was living in Los Angeles, teaching high school in The Valley, and driving home to northern California at least twice a month. It were strange times. I really bonded with I-5 during that time and I figured I'd eventually write a book called 5 & I. Now as time passes and that becomes a more distant memory, the likelihood of that ever happening is getting lower and lower. It's too bad really. Sometime I'll have to tell my L.A. Story here. One night in L.A. with my friend Suzi, Mr. Hernandez, the counselor at my school, three clubs, heroin, gunfire, and 76 Trombones led the big parade. Whew. Sometime when I've got time to really tell it.

Friday, April 06, 2001

Long week. Sleepy now. It's doing a very strange thing outside. It's rainy and cold after weeks of simply gorgeous spring weather. Still, I'll trade this odd little downpour for the hope of improving the Sierra snowpack a bit. Oh, and for anyone who thinks a rainy day in April could make me doubt the value of life in Northern California, we had a discussion today around the office about how bugs grow in other parts of the world. Eeeewwww! No thanks. I'll pay whatever it takes for my almost always gorgeous weather, distinct lack of oversized creepy crawlies and flyers, and the ability to go out and learn all sorts of dance styles any day of the week I want.

So I was surfing yesterday and stumbled across the website for Bridget Jone's Diary. Kodak is sponsoring a photoquilt on the site, so I submitted a photo. Check it out if you're interested.

Monday, April 02, 2001

Oh. My. God. Christian Chewing Gum. Wow.

So lately I've been troubled by Christianity. This is nothing new, the noise level about it in my head has just been higher than average. First, my cousin Wendy sent this note to me and a few of my friends. Then Kevin wrote a great reply which he sent only to me and Ray. His reply pretty well summed up my feelings on the subject. It's making me crazy that Wendy thinks that she should be getting married at 20 to a guy who can't even spell so that he can control her and she can cook and clean for him because that's what god wants. Ugh. So there's that, and then there's the annual Easter/Eostara holiday which always makes me reflect on just how hypocritcal Christians are. I guess I have to respect the Jehovah's Witnesses on some tiny level for their rejection of pagan symbolism. At least they know enough about their religion to notice that Easter Eggs and Easter bunnies are pagan symbols. Then there was the arrest of the murderer who shot the doctor in his own home to stop him from performing abortions. All of these things together cause my hatred of Christianity to burble to the surface. It just makes me ill to think of how many people have suffered and died by celebrating the suffering and death of one man. Of course, that doesn't even cover the destruction of the Buddha statues by the Taliban or the fighting in the mid-east between the Jews and Muslims over Israel/Palestine. It makes me crazy to think of all the suffering in the world caused by religion. Well, not crazy. Mostly just sad.

It was a weekend of comedy for Rick and I. We started out Friday night with Scapin, Fred's latest play at the Busbarn Theater. The show was basically a live cartoon complete with sound effects. The only thing it didn't have was an anvil dropping on someone's head. It was really fun.

The next day we had the Clue/Kill Doctor Lucky/Clue party that I've been wanting to have for ages. This involved watching Clue, playing Clue, and playing Kill Doctor Lucky. Everyone came as their favorite murderer or Clue character. Rick was the butler and I was Mrs. Peacock. The food turned out great. I started cooking around noon and by 7:00, I had single handedly turned out a vegetarian broccoli cheddar quiche, a roasted turkey with stuffing, sauteed broccoli with onions and almonds, guyere-garlic-sherry fondue with veggies, sourdough, and rosemary bread for dipping, sweet french bread with tomato, basil, and fresh mozarella, cream of tomato soup, chocolate mousse, and fresh fruit with whipped cream. Meanwhile, Rick cleaned the house from top to bottom. He's such a sweetie. He cleaned all three bathrooms all by himself, vacuumed, dusted, took care of the kitty litter. Heck, he did it all. I can't believe I get to keep him. Woohoo!

On Sunday, we finally went to see The Emperor's New Groove, which was surprisingly good. I actually didn't plan to see this one, and I'm a Disney fan, but several friends said that it was really really funny, and they were right. It was a major step up from Hercules. The humor was at a level that was fun for adults as well as the kids they took with them. I'm glad I finally went to see it. Sure, it was a simple tale, but the jokes were good, and that's what this weekend was really all about.