To my friends who used to complain when I dug the middle out of a soft, rinded cheese instead of eating the rind, little suspecting that I would one day change my ways, then find myself at a gathering where someone else had excavated the middle of a wedge of Brie, leaving me with nothing but rind when I sliced off a piece for myself: You were right, I was wrong. Sorry about that.
I did Bay to Breakers with a bunch of my planning pals last weekend. Are there photos? Yes, there are.
An article in today’s New York Times describes Berkeley as “a province where terms like ‘natural,’ ‘grass fed’ and ‘locally grown’ carry the same significance as ‘psalm,’ ‘covenant’ and ‘Eucharist’ in other parts of the world.” I can’t argue with, or complain about, that.
Right now, rather than enjoying the bounty of springtime farmers’ markets, I am feasting at an endless buffet of obligations, requirements, and responsibilities. Graduate school, I will not miss you. If I finish all my requirements on time, though, I can still enjoy apricot season and try, for the first time ever, to cook fresh morels. We’ll see how May goes.
In a conversation with a friend, I just found myself describing Diet Coke as “the teat of wakefulness at which I suckle frequently.”
Have I graduated yet?
My upstairs neighbors enjoy playing country music and classic rock at rather loud volumes—not constantly, mind you, and not wall-shakingly loud; it’s a moderate, perhaps twice-weekly indulgence. A few months ago, they spent a happy Sunday morning listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” on endless repeat. Today, they’re rockin’ to Queen’s greatest hits. Apparently my neighbors are the champions of the world, in spite of their being under some sort of pressure.
In unrelated news, I was planning to write a list of the alleged nominees for Best Pornographic Picture at the 2005 Academy Awards. I quickly realized, though, that I was unlikely to top my first entry, A Very Long Engorgement.
January 5th, 2005 § Comments off § permalink
I love my employer’s human resources department, mostly because a particular employee finds a way to demonstrate inappropriate workplace behavior every time I visit. When I dropped off my direct deposit form a few weeks ago, he made a lewd remark about a female coworker as he showed me into her cubicle. The other day, when I delivered my resignation letter, he was in the middle of a personal call behind the front desk, having a loud argument with his partner about a misunderstanding of some sort. When he got off the phone, talked to me, and discovered that I wasn’t certain what my last day would be, he proceeded to yell at me. Eventually, he realized that he was too worked up to be of any use and asked a colleague to help him out.
The other reason I love my employer’s human resources department is the sign that greets visitors:
“ STOP ”
“ COUNTER ”
December 19th, 2004 § Comments off § permalink
Her: Did you want to take some Co-Q10?
Him: Which one was that?
Her: It increases memory function.
Him: Oh. Yes.
A friend and I were talking in the computer lab at school, and we agreed that this semester’s defining characteristic was the frequent expenditure of enormous amounts of time and effort to produce consistently disappointing results. Not necessarily bad results, mind you, but nothing that we felt especially excited about or proud of. Ah, well. At least we have a semester left to redeem ourselves.
Besides, we’re having fun with our mediocrity. Here are some excerpts from a conversation that I had today with my partner for a group project:
Partner: We never had data on that.
Me: Yes, we did. We scribbled it down somewhere.
Partner: The thing is, we can recreate that data in five minutes just by thinking about it.
Partner: I’ll do the pedestrian “counts.”
Me: No, those are pretty legitimate. We really counted.
Partner: (about our final report) At least if it sucks, there’ll be a lot of it.
(I should mention that we’re not actually falsifying data—it’s just a somewhat abstract project, and it includes a number of estimates that are labeled as such.)
I’ve also started keeping a list of all the important city planning-related stuff of which I’m wholly ignorant. My hope is that I can correct most of these deficiencies over the next several months, making me eminently employable upon graduation and thus enabling me to pay off the $719 million of student loans I’ve taken out.
Not that school is taking up all my time. In the past few weeks, I’ve visited the Scharffen Berger factory and the Ferry Building Marketplace, seen an Iron & Wine concert, assisted in the preparation of cheese bread and potato gratin, and watched fellow students mock my professors at the department’s holiday party. But it’s mostly been all about finishing this semester.
Just a few more days to go.
November 22nd, 2004 § Comments off § permalink
Graduate school has fairly flown by. Next semester will be my last, and there are a dozen courses I want to take but can’t. There are so many things I won’t have learned about when I leave. And hanging around for longer than you’re supposed to is strictly verboten, since it reduces the number of slots available for new students. Choosing my fourth course for next semester is proving to be tricky indeed. Should I learn about transportation finance? Environmental factors for building design? Historic preservation? Something else entirely?
I want to take French, too, but language classes really mess up your schedule. Most of them meet five days a week in the morning, which makes it tough to hold down another job (or—let’s be honest—to stay out late on a weeknight). Apparently there are courses that meet less frequently, designed for busy grad students, but they conflict with my other classes. Oh, well. Or, more appropriately, c’est la vie. I can always learn a new language after I get my masters.
November 22nd, 2004 § Comments off § permalink
November has kept me hopping like a frog in Calaveras County, as Dan Rather might or might not say. Between the homemade cinnamon rolls, Crooked Jades and Grey De Lisle concerts, silent films, wine-tasting trips, movie-watching parties, farewell dinners, housewarming dinners, phone calls to friends, and, oh yeah, graduate school projects, my life has been wonderfully hectic. I’m about to spend a couple of weeks in the end-of-the-semester meat grinder—also hectic, but in a less wonderful way. I get to see Iron & Wine as I emerge, though, which will be a nice treat.
Collectively, my fellow students have about 23 different contagious diseases right now, and I think I may be coming down with one of them. It’s just a minor cold, though. I’m infusing my body with as much Emer’gen-C as seems reasonable. Maybe I can beat this thing. I hope I can. The end-of-the-semester grinder is not kind to diseased meat.