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oh dear. 2002

Well, I got an ethernet cable and set up my new office (in my big closet!) and it all fits just great and it's wonderful except for one small problem: I have the worst monitor flicker I've ever had. It's terrible and it wasn't like this across the room.

Anyone have any theories on what might be causing this? My speakers are not snugged up against the monitor, in fact there's nothing electronic near it. There are no cable boxes on the side of the building outside, but there is a set of wires coming from the overhead cables that comes to the building next door about 10 feet away behind my monitor on the other side of the wall. Could that be it? Any shielding suggestions? Are flat panel monitors not prone to this? Any other suggestions?

Argh.

Posted on February 28, 2002 at 06:36 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (3)

Finding my feet 2002

Finally, after what feels like months of mental and physical chaos, I woke up this morning with things going right and nothing to dread or worry about. Sure, there's stuff to do - my place is still rather a mess and I need to do repairs and cleaning at the Mountain View house - but I finally feel like I've got my feet under me again. What a relief!

Posted on February 27, 2002 at 11:56 AM in worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (1)

Time Sucka 2002

Oh yeah. I'm back online. As evidenced by the fact that I just spent over an hour surfing weblogs standing up while my dinner waited for me in the kitchen and I failed to go to the grocery story to purchase bread to eat with my nice soup. Crackers & connectivity for dinner tonight, my friends, crackers & connectivity.

Posted on February 26, 2002 at 09:05 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hallalujah! 2002

O the joy of reconnection! I am online at my new home.

Unfortunately, I don't have a cable long enough to take the phone line over to where I want the computer to be, but this problem is easily solved with a visit to Edmond's Garage Emporium of Cables. So I'm currently standing by the foot of my bed, leaning against the wall and typing on my mini-keyboard which is resting on the open drawer of the cabinet my monitor is sitting on. I'll need to be careful not to trip over the power strip which is in the middle of my hall between my bed and the bathroom, but this is all a small price to pay for connectivity.

Now I have much email to sort through and I need to make my bed (having done my first laundromat laundry in a few years), but progress is being made! Huzzah!

Posted on February 26, 2002 at 07:37 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (1)

Getting Twitchy 2002

I'm fine. Really. Pretty much over the flu except for an occasional *ugh* productive cough. All the stuff that needed to go from the old place to the new (and some of it is even put away!) Most of the stuff that needed to be moved out of the old place to somewhere else is moved. Oh, there's still the rest to deal with and the cleaning & repairs, but progress has been made.

And I'm still waiting for the right modem to allow me to connect to the DSL line I'm currently paying for. Hrmph. And the 3 prong plug next to the computer - the only one in my place - turns out not to be grounded. Grrr. I guess I asked for an adventure & I'm getting it.

Anyhow, I'm still disconnected from email & internet for days at a stretch, so if you don't hear a response for a bit, don't take it personally! I'm coming back soon, just waiting for the wires...

Posted on February 25, 2002 at 05:20 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (1)

Slow Climb Uphill 2002

I'm starting to feel better, but still definitely not at 100% or even 90% yet. Still on the hot tea & soup regimen.

Fortunately, I am at 80% done on the move. Tonight I will take another full car load and thus completely empty my room. That will leave some stuff in the garage and in the backyard, but I hope to take care of it with my Mum tomorrow. Then I'll just need to put in a day or two on repairs & cleaning and I'll be all done.

As for the new place, I'm mostly unpacked, but it's clear that I need to sell/donate/throw away some stuff. Moving from half a 3-bedroom townhome with garage to a 300 square foot apartment is quite an exercise in voluntary simplicity.

So, I'm understandably tired, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted on February 21, 2002 at 11:40 AM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conflicting Signs 2002

On the one hand, I am better enough to be back at work today. On the other, I am not what anyone would describe as productive and I noticed at noon that I was wearing my sweater backwards.

*sigh* I hate this flu.


I have too many things to do to be sick, but there is no arguing with this feeble, clammy feeling. Back to bed early tonight.

Posted on February 18, 2002 at 12:56 PM in health | Permalink | Comments (4)

A good reason to drive for an hour. 2002

I have been sick since Tuesday night and had not left my new apartment (except for one delirious trip to Walgreens) until today when I finally felt a bit better. I knew I had lots of email waiting for me and I really wanted to wash my sheets (for free, without sitting around a laundromat for an hour) plus I haven't actually finished moving all my stuff from Mountain View (most notably the computer remains in the southland, pending connectivity in The City).

So, this all added up to enough momentum to propel my feeble, coughing self to my car and thence, an hour away, to my old place, Chez Meinfelder (who is, by the way, still seeking a housemate to share this spacious, lovely & conveniently-located abode).

It's gonna be good to sleep on clean sheets tonight. It is a fine thing to make a little progress on packing up the remaining items. I am really happy to catch up on my email. But it would have been worth the drive if all I got from it was this:

Derek put up a video clip of Lance telling one of his adventures working in live TV. Ladies & gentlemen, please enjoy The Perfesser.

(More clips are also available which demonstrate just why Fray Day is one of the most important holidays of my year).

Posted on February 16, 2002 at 05:49 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (0)

Moving Marathon 2002

Hi. I am alive. I'm just moving and have no internet connectivity at my new place. Thursday - large stuff in van (help from Jessa, Bev & Kevin S.)
Friday - carload including bed (can't remember if I had help, I think not)
Saturday - carload (can't remember if I had help, I think so)
Sunday - too exhausted to do more than clean, unpack & shop for needed items
Monday - work 1/2 day then carload (load & unload by myself, except a little at the end from B.J. & Bev)
Today - carload (load by myself, appt in SF, unload with Bev)

eek. Mostly done, but boy am I pooped. Thanks for the supportive email, phone calls, comments & visits to the new fabu pad. I estimate 1 more load with my Mum on Friday then I can start cleaning & doing touch-up on the old place... and after that? I help B.J. & Bev move! Woo! Moving is fun! <--- WARNING: sarcasm.

Posted on February 12, 2002 at 12:04 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (5)

Dinah's Busy Busy Week of Fun 2002

Well. What a busy week I've been having.

Monday was relatively uneventful, though I did register with RentTech in the evening and performed an apartment search. Got about 10 or so interesting results in my price range (which I had to do a reality check on and up from "under $900" to "$925 or under").

Tuesday I drove up to The City and stopped by the RentTech office to order sealed copies of my credit report. While they were getting those together, I called the apartments on my list. I left some messages, reached some & found out the unit had upstairs neighbors ("Sorry, but thanks for playing!") and then got one landlady who sounded nice & competent AND had an upstairs unit. We arranged to meet at the building in an hour, I went in and retrieved my credit reports and drove over to Hayes Valley. Off to a good start: I found a parking space 2 blocks away and had time to walk around the neighborhood. Laundromat 1 block away, good. Natural food store 1 block away, excellent. Pretty quiet area, wonderful. While waiting in front of the building, I stopped a guy coming out and said "Good place to live?" He proceed to gush about the building, the landlady, the neighborhood. Very friendly guy. Turns out he manages the building next door & is just doing some painting work for this landlady. Nice fellow. And when the landlady showed up things continued great. She's very talkative, but devoted to improving the neighborhood. Really hands-on, make-things-better.

Ah, and the apartment. *sigh* It meets all my criteria (though it's on the small side) and I decide I'm on to a good thing. Rather than keep hunting around & risk losing it, I choose to rent it on the spot. Fortunately, between my personable manner, my exemplary credit report and the fact that I'm wearing a suit, the landlady agrees to rent it to me. We arrange that I'll sign the lease & get keys on Thursday morning. Great!

So I head off, leave lots of hyper-bubbly messages on friends' answering machines and go about my business for the afternoon. La la la. Lovely day in SF. I got together with Carl for a visit and a tasty hunan dinner. Before dinner I amused myself photographing the cats of the person Carl's housesitting for. Therefore, let us now pay a visit to feline supermodel Spencer:

Spencer sleeps.

Spencer wakes.

Spencer plots.

Spencer sits.

Spencer wants to be where the other cat is.

Spencer climbs.

Spencer climbs more.

Success!

So that was an exciting Tuesday evening. When I got home I realized "Hey, as of Thursday, I have an apartment in San Francisco. I better pack." So I did some and then more in the morning.

Wednesday at work I found it hard to concentrate. I kept wanting to be working on the move. And I got to thinking: I have to go up there on my day off (I'm only working 3 days a week for a while) therefore I can and should take a load of stuff with me. Then I thought, hey, I could rent a cargo van and take the big stuff so that all the rest of the move will be little catch-as-catch-can runs in the Beetle. So, at 4:30 the wonderful Kristin and I left work early so she could give me empty boxes from her move and take me to U-Haul to pick up a van. Thank you, Kristin! Once I was at U-Haul, I noticed that the trucks are the same price as the cargo van, so I got a truck instead. Unfortunately, they were out of the 10' ones so I ended up with a huge 14' monster. Hard to drive, but I got the hang of it and got home about 5:30 or 6. The fantabulous Jessa was waiting there for me with more boxes (!) and a willing attitude. With her mighty help, I ended the evening with the truck containing two large bookcases, two cd racks, a large chair & ottoman, two dressers, a coffee table, a microwave oven, two chairs, and a bunch of boxes.

I was already a bit stiff when I woke up this morning at 7:15, but I managed to put a few more small things in the truck, eat some breakfast and get myself and the laden truck up to SF by a little before 10am. Signed the lease, got the keys and... oh my... look at all the stuff in that truck. Well, only one thing to do: I started carrying up everything that didn't take two people to move. After about an hour or so my super splendiferous friend Beverly came along to help. Beverly is a goddess. She busted her butt with me and we got more than half of it up and were starting to lag when the phone rang and it was super stud Kevin Smokler announcing his appearance shortly to help with the last heavy stuff. Oh and help he did; my goodness, but he's a muscley boy. I hope he doesn't ache too bad tomorrow (or at least that the smug satisfaction of being a studmuffin outweighs the twinges).

Wow. I have a place in San Francisco. Tonight, though, I will sleep in Mountain View and I think I will sleep very solidly. My body is stiff and exhausted. Bed is calling even though it's only 8:30pm. Thanks again for help & supportive email. I'm looking forward to having people over for dinner. Um, in small groups. Very small groups in my very small - but wonderful! - place.

Posted on February 7, 2002 at 06:56 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (7)

High Gear 2002

Well, it's sunk in. I am moving out of my spacious suburban nest and into a tiny place in the big city. Awkward, challenging and completely thrilling! In the hope that it will help Edmond to find a new housemate, I'm going to get all the stuff from my room moved as quickly as possible. It's a lovely big room with an enormous closet and I'm sure someone will fall for it (though that might turn out to be Edmond leaving his smaller, but still quite pleasant room for renting out. Anyhow, that's all his choice and I hope it goes as smoothly & successfully as mine).

So, I'm moving. Tomorrow. Aieee! Nothing's packed! Aaaaah!

But I have friends with boxes (hello Kristin & Jessa!), I'm picking up a cargo van from U-Haul at 5pm and I have the capacity to go into Tazmanian Devil mode on projects, so I think it will all be doable. I forsee no more than 6 trips down & up the stairs which will require a second person. I just hope that corner bookcase is light enough for me to carry the heavy end. So far my committed helpers are two wonderful women (Jessa for loading & Beverly for unloading, bless them) who are about equally un-hunky as I. I mean, we're all mighty mighty, but we don't have enormous lifting power.

So, ah, if you're in Mountain View this evening or San Francisco tomorrow midday and you love to lift things, just drop me a little note, okay. :)

Hmm, note to self: reserve a hot tub at Watercourse Way soon. You will ache.

Posted on February 6, 2002 at 01:20 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (3)

Gosh, that was easy. 2002

I found a place. With about 4 hours work I found a great apartment in San Francisco. I guess the market has changed!

So, it's on Grove in lovely Hayes Valley and it's small but just right. Good kitchen? check. Gas stove? check. Nearby natural foods store? check. Easy for friends to get to? check. Easy to get to public transit from? check. Under $900? Uh, no, but only $925. Over 400 square feet? Yes, I think so; still have to measure. No upstairs neighbor? check, plus limited shared walls since it's a corner unit! Additional pluses: a great conscientious landlady, new appliances, new tile in the bathroom, and a view of the city hall dome out the (bonus!) bay window.

Wooo! I'm so excited! I get the keys on Thursday!!!

oh.

And that means I better get off the computer and get packing!

Posted on February 5, 2002 at 09:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Brown on Brown 2002

Ah, I love finding a blog in its first couple months. The bud stage. And this one is brown on brown and has a good name. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Cyn|sch|sm.

Oho, and a brief conversation illustrates that this fellow understands blogging quite well already:

"it's so exciting to see that complete random strangers read the verbal sausage my mind won't stop making."

Posted on February 4, 2002 at 11:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Apartment Hunt Begins 2002

Okay. This is it. I'm looking for an apartment in San Francisco available (ideally) immediately.

I want more than 400 square feet for (ideally) less than $900 a month. I do not want upstairs neighbors. I do not need parking. I do not have pets. I want a real kitchen, even if it's a small one, so I can cook for myself & friends. I want to be near friends & good bread & fresh produce.

I'm looking in Forest Hill, Inner Sunset, Outer Sunset, Inner Richmond, Presidio Heights, Hayes Valley/Lwr Haight, Western Addition, Buena Vista, Castro/Eureka Valley, Cole Valley, Haight, Noe Valley, UCSF, Nob Hill, and Russian Hill through RentTech. I've been told it's cool to be on the J or N muni lines. In a perfect world, I'd have a gas stove and be within 5 blocks of a good grocery with lovely fresh organic produce and Semifreddi's seeded baguettes.

In a curious coincidence, it is possible that my housemate Edmond may be looking for a housemate. I recommend him; he keeps a lovely home, has great taste and is cleaner & more financially responsible than just about anyone I know. There's a reason we stayed housemates even after we split up as a couple.

Posted on February 4, 2002 at 10:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Beauty is wherever you find it. 2002

Quite some time back I was snacking and found the perfect rice cracker. It's an aesthetic work of art, worthy of the plate of an emperor.
Now that's a rice cracker!
I saved it and kept it by my monitor, waiting for a day when I'd have time to document it and share it with you. True to eastern principles of beauty it is flawed; I just ate it and, unsurprisingly, it was stale.

Posted on February 3, 2002 at 01:25 PM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0)

Busy Saturday & A Very Hard Decision 2002

*whew* Only 3pm and I'm already pooped. Last night I stayed up a bit too late hangin' out with Jay and friends at his farewell gathering at Molotov's bar in the lower Haight.

This morning, I dredged myself out of bed and went to Jessica's house to help her large gang of extremely efficient and cheerful friends transport all her worldly goods to her nice little new apartment. I fit an alarming amount - including a huge armchair - into my wonderful Beetle and was not alone in maximizing use of space. All but a couple awkward furniture pieces came over in one round. Good group of folks!

Then I went to Jamba Juice & grabbed a giant smoothie, picked up bagels at Noah's and came home quick while I still had the "go go go" energy. I just used it up on the back yard. There was a whole fall's worth of leaves burying the yard and I got them all hustled into a huge pile in the corner. My arms & shoulders are really feeling like they got a workout. I'll need to borrow a wheel barrow & shovel to get them out of the yard, bagged & into the dumpster (many of the leaves are wet), but at least the yard is more pleasant to look at now.

Now I'm at my computer, waiting for the laundry to finish, entering receipts in Quicken, paying bills & figuring out my budget for my New Economy. My boss, Clemens, and I have agreed that I will work only 3 days a week for the indefinite future. I'll also get to focus more on my favorite part of the job: working directly with customers & designing solutions. This is a huge relief to me. I need the mental space more than the money right now.

All my pieces seem to be falling into place, no, better give myself credit, I am getting them into place. Over on Kevin's site there's been some discussion about choices and someone brought up the concept of bad & good elements on each side. It's like this:
b:g = an easy choice
g:g = not as easy, but no wrong answer
b:b = sucky, but it comes down to "which is worse?"
but realistically most choices are
bg:bg = a hard choice

That last one is where I've been with my life since last spring.
On the one hand, I live 11 miles from my office in a huge place with a great housemate who's a good friend and really looks out for me. Good. Unfortunately, we sometimes run into some tension (as all housemates do, but as ex-lovers are probably more inclined to do), it's expensive ($1200 a month), and it's not within walking distance of a good grocer where I can buy baguettes & fresh produce. Bad.
On the other hand, I love San Francisco and want very very much to live there to be near my friends and enjoy big city life. Good. But it'd mean 3 hours a day commuting and rents are insanely high. Bad.
Well, now two factors have changed. Add to the bad side of living in Mountain View the fact that my health seems worse here due to dryness, that I've been living on a reduced income since last summer with business being slow (and that I am choosing to maintain that reduced income level to buy myself more free time) so can't really afford this expensive a place. Add to the good side of living in San Francisco the fact that I will only need to commute at most 2 or 3 days a week and that rents are dropping dramatically.
So, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna move to SF. I need to talk over the logistics of when I move out with Edmond, but I can start getting rid of stuff I won't be moving, update my rental resume and that sort of thing. I feel bad that I'll stop being Edmond's housemate and living in this spiffy place, but the idea of the move fills me with so much energy that I know it is the right thing to do.

My Mum's contribution (via email) to the discussion over on Kevin's site, was the observation that there are actually four choices in any decision:

Do it & enjoy.
Do it & don't enjoy.
Don't do it & enjoy.
Don't do it & don't enjoy.

She says, "All 4 are real choices, and it's surprising how often people pick #2 or 4....."

For me, the choice not to move to SF now would be a #4. I'm going to do it and I'm going to enjoy it. Not without sadness, not without loss, but I know it's the right thing for me and that fundamentally I am the only one responsible for my happiness. This is something I can do on my own which brings me joy and self-esteem that is independent of anyone else's actions or opinions. Frankly, I could really use a big dish of joy and self-esteem these days. "Waiter? I'm ready to order..."

Posted on February 2, 2002 at 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Living In The Moment 2002

It's been an odd but good week. I've been working half-time and that's certainly helped to reduce my stress level. Wednesday I went up to San Francisco and saw an afternoon matinee of Copenhagen with my friend Charles Anders. It was great! Really outstanding. I highly recommend seeing it (and sitting in the gallery seats on stage if you can).

Wednesday night I stayed with my friends Beverly & B.J. and had a lovely relaxing evening and slept better than I have in weeks. This was on an air mattress in a cold room next to a busy intersection in a house with a cat. So, my question to myself yesterday morning was: "What's wrong with my room at home that I'm so miserable?" Last night I slept poorly at home and am asking the question again. *sigh*

The best thing for me right now seems to be to pay attention to and meet my immediate needs. Working half-time is helping a lot. Being a lot flakier than usual and changing plans around or not making plans prompts some momentary guilty feelings, but then I realize my number one job right now is getting well.

Posted on February 1, 2002 at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Blog (noun) A weblog or similar brief journal usually containing links and commentary thereon. Term coined by Peter Merholz.

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