Saturday, September 30, 2006

Musings from a coffee shop

So I'm sitting in a very North Beach coffee shop pretending to write this silly grant write-up. I've been procrastinating for about a month. I unplugged my wireless card to show myself I was serious but I obviously just plugged it in since I was spending my nonwireless time screening iTunes songs to put in my work-out mix. Now I realize why I'm always stressed out at school but not here. Procrastination's a bitch, man. But I love/hate it. Some psychologist should do a more extensive study on it.

Since I apparently have no AIDS activism related insights here are some coffee shop insights:

-The only other person on the iTunes network has the most boring music tastes ever. If I know every one of your bands, you really need to live a little. The Beatles are great and everything, but they shouldn't take up half your collection.
-I wish I could turn up the volume on the guys sitting across from me. They're discussing Closer, and I'm trying to figure out if they loved or hated it since there is no in between with that movie. Also, judging by the convo, one appears gay and one appears straight, and inter-sexuality friendships among men have always warmed my heart for some reason I cannot pinpoint.
- This guy asked me to watch his stuff before. There's always a little part of me that wants to walk off with that person's iPod while I'm "watching his stuff" while he's in the bathroom. omgomgomg, THAT is going to be my I have to figure out a way to package it!
-Should I buy a cookie? I know I SHOULDN'T but I've been sitting here for so long I feel like it's time to be a patron again.

Much love, xoxoxoxoxoxo, diana

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I might write a novel

although I think Josh and Becca are probably the only people still reading, and they already know this. My first idea was to write about myself in the third person and change names. I've since decided that's a bad idea since my life's not that interesting. But before I decided that, to practice ,I wrote two single-spaced pages about my boring trip to the laundry mat. ,Names have been changed to protect no one.

My laundry novella

Lara lugged her blue laundry bag to the laundry mat two blocks from her house. “Go to Bubbles,” her landlord told her her first day in San Francisco. So she did. When she walked in, she realized she forgot her detergent. Awesome, she thought sarcastically, since it's possible to think sarcastically. Before walking home she comparison-shopped at the laundry mat across the street. It was slightly more expensive. Also, all of the consumers at the second laundry mat was Asian, where as at the first everyone was white. This made her more confident in her choice, and that fact embarassed her. When she returned to the first laundry mat she learned that the owner was Asian, a fact that pleased her and she felt made up for her racism of two minutes earlier.

“You're always working,” a white (obviously) customer, told the owner, a small man of Asian descent, though we've already established this fact. “Making lots of money.”
“No, no money,” he replied.

Lara emptied her laundry into the washers, wondering if this was true. Was he really a wealthy entrepreneur? Were a chain of Bubbles laundry mats already gracing the Bay area? Or maybe the owner had a nagging, cold wife he wanted to escape. Or maybe worse, he didn't have a wife. He moved to this country in the hopes of meeting a nice woman but all the nice women didn't want him. Or maybe he was just a hard worker.

Thinking all of this, instead she only asked him how long the washers take. “Thirty minutes,” he replied. Not wanting to go back to the apartment she walked to the gelato place. This will be my dinner, she decided, taking the non-fat banana something. And it was. She ate it in Washington Square Park (the one in San Francisco, not in her native New York), surrounded by little old Chinese women, leashless dogs and cliques of homeless people.

Lara returned to switch her clothes to the dryers. Thirty minutes later, as she started to unload, she phone rang. She ran to her bag. Except the phone was in her pocket. It was her friend Meg. She called Meg back. She didn't get so much as a hi out when a man looked like he wanted to talk to her. “Excuse me?” he said, "You have my laundry bag." Awesome. Lara hung up on Meg and apologized to the man, showing him the identical bags they posessed.

She called Meg back, laughing, telling her what happened. Meg was the perfect person to have on the other end, since she did the same sort of thing eight times a day. She also wanted this man, who she will never see again who couldn't have cared less about this minor mix-up, to understand that she could laugh about this.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Talk about the weather, or how the weather used to be

Complaining's fun. I understand that. But there are certain rules. Girls less than size 8 cannot complain about being fat. Millionares cannot complain about being poor. And people who live in the Bay area cannot complain about the weather.

I realize complaining is a crucial form of social interaction. And we are never going to complain about things we complain about are not worth complaining about. You might here someone say, "Oh my God, my mom is SUCH a bitch! It's so annoying!" not "Oh my God, my mom just died! That really sucks!" And I also realize complaining about the weather is the simplest thing to complain about. Living through Chicago winters and New York summers I have done my own share of this.

HOWEVER, I find the behavior of Bay area residents simply out of control. Today was high of 82. Sunny. Beautiful Yet I get to work and the intern next to me complains, "It's too hot today." My editor comes in and says virtually the same thing.

Wtf people? When I was sunning out in the park because it was BEAUTIFUL out I overheard a homeless man say, "The weather here is perfect. Anyone who says otherwise is crazy." Amen.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

i'm so over blogging

but I just thought I'd say hi as a place-holder until I think of something interesting to write. A special hi to Laurel who says she will be the most recent reader. I don't want to write about work because the bitchy Medill prof who will not be named told us not to but it's good.

Life is good. Maybe it's the fact that I'm on the west coast or that I don't have homework or that there's no apartment drama or that my job is good but I am just super-unstressed and I can typically stress myself out about anything. Although I am looking to make friends to substitute my 2-3 hours of tv a night.

Oh, and the family below us is a Chinese family that has about 20 people and cook very strongly odored Chinese food.

And I live with two cool girls who play rugby but their athleticism doesn't stress me out.

And I live across from this park where homeless people and frat boys and old Chinese ladies coexist in peace.

And across from the park is a church where Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe got married.

And my job is eight million times better than my Devil Wears Prada job this summer. The people are nicer, the work is more interesting.

AND BREAKING NEWS: I'm contemplating wearing the LEGGINGS I bought in New York. I think I'lll wear them with a skirt.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hmm, where to now?

In one of the count 'em six maps my dad bought me there's a list: "12 things not to miss in San Francisco." Well, in the six days I've been here I've seen nine, though you can argue some are a technicality. Here's a run-down (* indicates I've seen the site) along with both the map's commentary and my own:

*01. Alcatrez:Former fort and jailhouse, now one of the city's top tourist attractions. Put yourself in solitary confinement. Maybe because I've been before to what is certainly a one time thing, or maybe or maybe because I come from a town that boasts its own famous prison, but I was underwhelmed by #1. The sea lions on the dock next door, however, are kind of my favorite thing ever. I've already been three times this week.

*02. The Presidio: You could easily get lost in the hidden trails that wind around the chunk of land between downtown and the Golden Gate. We passed this on the bus tour to Muir Woods (amazing) and wine tasting in Sonoma Valley (also great) so I saw this on a technicality but I plan to go back.

*03. Lombard Street: Ten hairpin terms along one block. You can zoom down by car, or better yet, walk down and smell the hydrangeas. Ok, another technicality. I've walked on Lombard St., which is three blocks from my apartment, but I've only seen the Lombard Street from a distance thus far.

*04. Chinatown: The world's largest Chinese community outside China is a jumble of hidden temples, curio shops and neon-lit restaurants. This is the next neighborhood south of North Beach so I've passed by every day and even bought a deck of cards here.

*05. Cable Car: Not the quickest way across town but perhaps the most fun. Grab a seat or stand on the side. Super-fun, though it made a headline this week for being an expensive tourist trap, for some reason we didn't have to pay.

06. Golden Gate Park: On sunny weekends, San Franciscans throng to this three-mile long park with its gardens, bufflalo paddock, and excellent museums. Not yet. But I totally will throng to it soon.

*07. Coffee in North Beach: The beachfront property is long gone, but 'Little Italy' maintains some of the best restaurants and cafes in the city. I live North Beach, and the restaurants thus far seem amazing. But I'm not much of a coffee person. However, I am quite a 'cross things off list' person so I specifically drank my first cup of coffee since final's week yesterday in order to earn my asterik.

*08. Golden Gate Bridge: The great red towers of this famed bridge are the guardians of San Francisco. The quintessential backdrop for pictures to send home. Check. No interesting story.

*09. Coit Tower. The structure represents the nozzle of a fire hose, and was dedicated to the firemen who died in the 1906 earthquake. Located two blocks from my house.

10. Berkeley: The campus and nearby Telegraph Avenue, with its mishmash of head shops and sixties survivors, has prompted the city's nickname 'Bezerkley'. I will go to 'Bezerkley' soon hopefully, though Tony (who I'm not sure if he reads this, but I'll namedrop him just in case) told me to make sure I actually take it in and not just go to the shops and be touristy.

11. SBC Park: A great place to watch baseball, not to mention the flotilla of surfers and kayakers who fight over the balls that are hit into the bay. Ok, my dad wanted to go but I resisted, and now I'm kind of sad because it's on the list.

*12. Haight Ashbury: The Summer of Love is now just a memory, but the tie-die shops, tattoo parlors, bars and cafes still draw throngs of dreadlocked youths. I saw more tourists than dreadlocked youths, but whatev. I shopped while my dad waited outside (I noted to him the gender normativity that somehow prevailed despite all odds- I wanted to shop, he wanted to watch baseball) and picked up a cute orange dress from a thrift shop. However, the more I look at it the more sure I am that this dress came from H&M.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

San Francisco

San Francisco, CA-

It's only been two days, but so far so good. First impressions:

The city: Beautiful. Very, very hilly, which I never really grasped before. My father (who came here to help me move in) and I took a cable car today which apparently only tourists do, but that's ok, since I'm still a tourist for the next week.

The neighborhood: the edge of North Beach, which is basically the Little Italy area. There are no chain stores within a two block radius which is kind of neat. Supposedly there's a good nightlife close by which I've yet to see. I'm .6 miles to work though my practice walk told me the hills make it feel like much more.

The apartment: There's totally nothing wrong with it. My room is a normal size (compared to my apartment in ny this summer where I lived in a sauna/cubicle, ), everything is fully furnished. It's kind of grungy though. Like, if I weren't living with two recent college grads from schools I've heard of I'd feel like I was living in the projects.

The roommates: Seem really really nice. I'm glad I'm living with girls my own age, and they're both funny and fun and I think we'll live well together.

My father: I appreciate his help, I do. It's scary not knowing anyone in a strange city. And I love not having to pay for anything. But oh my god. Three weeks ago he called me to tell me not to buy a San Francisco map because he'd already bought two. By the time we flew out here I think he had memorized the public transit routes. I haven't and directions aren't exactly my thing. He tries to quiz me. Just substitute "Diana, what bus line should you be taking if you want to get to Market?" with "Diana, what's the opposite of finger?" and I might as well be the three-year old in the home videos I watched when I was home. I definitely don't feel older than seven because by that age if I was I'd be screaming that "I'm not a baby!!!" Now I just bite my tongue and try to be a grown-up even if I'm not being treated like one.

ok, that's it for now, I'll try to update a lot but if I start updating every day that's bad because it means I don't have any semblance of a life.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Home movies and other necessary fictions

Ossining, N.Y.-

I keep going home for these 3 to 8 day intervals, which is enough time to get bored enough that I want to leave for my next destination (next of North American World Tour: San Francisco in T-3 days).

Highlight of this most recent visit:Watching home videos for three hours with my mom. We are still on the Diana years, from when I was 10 months old- 1.5 years. My brother wasn't born yet and every single episode was centered around me.

Here's a typical scene:

Father (off camera): Today is May 23, 1986 and today Diana is 1 year, 2 months old. We're celebrating with the Scholl family.
Mother: Diana, who's holding the camera?
Diana: Dad-eee!
Mother: Goood job!
Father: Diana, will you give Jessy a kiss?
Diana gives Jessy a kiss.
Everyone: Yay!!!!!!
Random family member off camera: You have sound on that recorder?
Father: Yeah.
Other uncle: Wow, impressive.
Father: Diana, show everyone how big you are!
Mother: How big is Diana? SOOOOOO BIG!
Diana stretches her arms.
Everyone: Yay!!!!!

This scene is repeated about 80 more times in various locations and with various friends and relatives. I wish I could podcast it here, except a) I don't know how to do that, b) it's still on vcr.

I love these home movies, mostly because it's me, but also because I love home movies. But not enough to watch those of random people on youtube, which I just realized can be done and is sort of creeping me out.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A coach seat revolution

On my flight from Chicago to New York yesterday I sat in front of a kicking, screaming two year old. Now I totally love little kids, seriously, they are my favorite demographic. And when I looked around after he poked my head during his kicking and screaming break we even had a cute conversation:

Kid: Hi
Me: Hii
Kid: Hiii
Me: Hiiiii
Kid: Hiiiii
Me: I'm going to take a nap but I'll talk to you later. Byeee
Kid: Byeee

Still, I would have rather been far away from him. This reminded me of one of my best ideas ever: childless seating. With this, when you choose your seats online instead of just choosing window or aisle or the grave responsibility of sitting in an exit row, you can also specify if you want to sit near children. That way children and parents can commiserate together while the rest of us don't have to. You can also specify if you want to sit next to a "talker" or even the duration of the talk. Like (with the exception of my time with Plane Boyfriend in Thanksgiving '05) I would only want to chat during take-off and landing and would thus be seated next to someone who feels similar. Or if you're hoping to make a travel-fuckbuddy you can be seated next to someone who also wants to join the mile-high club.

And when you choose your seat you post a picture with a profile. Like or ! And former seatmates can leave reviews and comments. like ebay!

My lawyer former-rommate told me this might violate some privacy act but that nonetheless she would fight for it in court. Who's with me We need to lobby the airlines. I feel like Jetblue would so go for this.