I know what I did this summer

July 11th, 2003 § Four comments § permalink

I would write about all the interesting things I’ve been doing, but I’m too busy doing them. Here’s one recommendation, though: 826 Valencia in San Francisco is the city’s only independently owned and operated pirate supply store. Also, they offer free writing classes and tutoring for kids. It is a strange and wonderful place. Go there.

And for those of you who rely upon me for your amusement: If I ever open a fitness center with a religious theme, it will be called Pontius Pilates.

Summer means fun. I mean, school.

June 24th, 2003 § Five comments § permalink

Because I have no knowledge of statistics or microeconomics, I have to take two classes at Berkeley this summer before I start my graduate program. Both classes started on Monday. They are lower-division courses, which means plenty of clueless first-year students. Just try to imagine my joy.

In the first lecture for my statistics course, I learned that dice are six-sided cubes, each side with a different number of dots ranging from one to six. The professor even drew a die for us. By my calculations, that lecture cost me $9.41. I want a refund.

Fortunately, my microeconomics course is rather more interesting. It’s taught by the city planning department, and it focuses on economic issues that affect cities; the readings address sprawl, poverty, housing policy, and city form. Surprisingly, I am the only graduate student in the class, which means the other incoming grad students know microeconomics or are taking classes at junior colleges. Or maybe they’re just ignoring the prerequisites.

The most important lesson I have learned so far: Do not bike up to campus on Center Street until my leg muscles get stronger. They felt like jelly by the time I made it up the hill to the Campanile. Riding up Bancroft Channing to Telegraph is far less painful.

Your ass or a hole in the ground

June 18th, 2003 § Two comments § permalink

I spent a good ten minutes the other day looking for the UPS Store on Shattuck. It’s right by campus; I’ve walked past it a dozen times. But I couldn’t find it. You know why? Because I temporarily forgot that odd- and even-numbered addresses are on opposite sides of the street. What’s more, I didn’t realize my mistake until I had walked almost to Shattuck and Adeline—a half mile away—and dropped off my package at Shattuck Avenue Self-Storage.

Reminder: I am a graduate student in city planning.


June 9th, 2003 § One comment § permalink

I have moved to Berkeley. This is delightful. I have no Internet connection at home right now. This is rather less than delightful. Don’t expect too much email from me anytime soon.

More, perhaps, when I don’t have to bike to my brother’s house to get an Internet connection. I’ll be exploring the city in the meantime.

Deputy assistant flâneur in training

May 15th, 2003 § One comment § permalink

I will be leaving Sunnyvale during its most beautiful season. Irises line the streets, bowing under the weight of their fussy petals; California poppies burst forth from the sidewalks in happy profusion. Fortunately, I’m told they also have flowers in Berkeley.

On my walk to the library this evening, I saw a cream-colored cat trotting down its owners’ driveway, head down, thinking important cat thoughts. When it noticed me, it made a bashful face, and its trot turned into a slink. “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t realize it was you.”

Am I capable of graduate-level thought or not

May 12th, 2003 § Four comments § permalink

One of my instructors at UC Santa Cruz had an unusual belief about universities: The more prestigious a university, he argued, the more attractive its average student. One of his daughters attended MIT, and when he visited her at school, he noticed that many of her classmates were exceptionally good-looking.

Well, apparently I’m not attractive enough to get into MIT, but I am sufficiently hot to attend UC Berkeley’s masters program in city planning. I start classes this fall. My career as a technical writer will be over 10 days from tomorrow.

So, uh, that’s that. I should have something more intelligent to say about this massive shift, but I don’t at the moment. Feel free to post comments taunting me for being so inarticulate. Also, apologies to the many people to whom I should have personally communicated this news, but who are instead reading it on my Web site; you are welcome to email me and complain.

Projectile magnet

April 21st, 2003 § Five comments § permalink

If you are one of the many people who have not thrown anything at me recently, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness.

If, however, you are the sullen young man who tried to drop a water balloon on my head in the Haight a few weekends ago, or the guy who hurled a handful of change at my head in Santa Cruz on Sunday, or the person who threw a lit firecracker in my general direction in Sunnyvale tonight, I have a question: Why me? Am I just having a run of bad luck, or am I doing something that causes total strangers to lash out at me?

Alice Waters I ain’t

April 5th, 2003 § Two comments § permalink

This has been a lousy day for cooking. I started to make tapenade this afternoon, but the olives I was using were nearly tasteless, and the anchovies were seven different shades of awful. So much for tapenade. Tonight, when I tried a fish recipe that includes a feta cheese sauce of sorts, I discovered that I had inadvertently purchased cow’s milk feta. Who the hell makes feta with cow’s milk? Some dairy cooperative in Wisconsin, that’s who. (Serves me right for buying feta from Wisconsin.) Anyhow, cow’s milk feta is wretched, and it didn’t help matters that I used four times as much yogurt in the sauce as the recipe called for.

I was planning to make banana muffins tomorrow morning, but now I’m not so sure. Apparently I am no longer capable of assembling an entire recipe’s worth of decent ingredients.

I stay astounded as the grounds roll in

February 5th, 2003 § Five comments § permalink

After three weeks of daily cappuccinos while I was in the UK, I decided when I got back that I might as well continue the habit. I’m now the proud owner of a Guido Bergna stovetop espresso maker, purchased from EspressoPeople. Now I can feed my sick, sick addiction twenty-four hours a day enjoy delicious coffee in the privacy of my own home.

Just for clarification, though:

Don’t be fooled by the grounds that I got
I’m still, I’m still Jeffy from the block
Used to buy espresso, now I have a pot
No matter how I brew, I know my barista

The failing to recall what I was missing all that time in England

January 12th, 2003 § Comments off § permalink

My trip to the UK ended over a week ago. Coming back seemed like a good idea after three weeks of traveling. Now that I’ve returned to work, though, and discovered that there was yet another round of layoffs while I was gone, being someplace else sounds better.

If I can get myself even slightly motivated, I’ll post some little tidbits about my trip during the next week or so. What I really want to do, thanks to the combined effects of jet lag, gloomy weather, and a persistent cold, is to spend the entire week napping.

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