Archive for July, 2010

round and round

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

These are my new pals at work. Well, they are not mine, per se, but I share a desk with them. They were “rescued” from an aquarium store to be filmed as a live fish cam in our office for the next month. After that, they’ll be given away to a colleague or a friend.

Anticipating there arrival, I didn’t think much about them. We had been cycling the tank water since last week, so I thought nothing much about their addition to the table. A pleasant sound and visual distraction, perhaps.

Once they were here, I was mesmerized by their movement and grace. (on a side note, I missed swimming again tonight—so much for my return!) But it was stressful too.

Would they live? Were they happy? Does their new home stress them out? A few hours (and some Internet research) later, I fond myself invested in the well-being of Mr. Pickles, Pat Finn and Heidi. Did you know they can live 10-15 years? [ETA: Mel says the record livespan is 40!]

Contrary to popular belief, they have more than a 3-second memory. You’re supposed to rearrange their living space for the sake of variety. I can relate to that. I don’t want to be a little guy trapped in the same cycle, day-in, day-out.

something is not nothing

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Again, with the late night and not clearly developed thoughts. There’s just not much of note going on ’round these parts. Not in my daily life. Not to record and remember.

The one experience that occurred was sharing an elevator with a chef or cook from the restaurant in the building and the giant buckets of freshly made lobster bisque on his cart. Friendly words were exchanged. It was a lot of bisque. That’s all.

What I have to share is a link to an essay I came across on Twitter from Jad of RadioLab fame at WNYC. A powerful story of a mother loving her daughter so hard and the ugliness of life’s relentless challenges. It’s not about pity or using this to gain perspective. It’s beautiful words and the author’s truth. I hope you enjoy: For Jessica.

Desperate times call for happy measures

Monday, July 19th, 2010

I gotta start earlier than 11pm if I want to ever find happiness or get a slightly considered post up here each day. I also gotta remember to take pictures when I’m in parts of SF I’ve never visited before.

Tonight, that was behind Levis Plaza on Sansome. 6:00pm meeting at the agency’s office to discuss a change order and what was and was not within scope. Riveting, believe you me.

Note to self: you have a phone with a camera. Use it. You’re typing this on it right now. Pull it out and shoot something outside of the apartment.

Time to start reading.


Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Chris works on Sunday nights at Walzwerk. I often end up waiting around at home until I decide to go there and eat by myself, if I can’t rustle up any dining partners. And, I’ll probably do it again tonight.

With one exception.

Before dinner, I’m going to the movies. A real, live movie theater! I don’t think I’ve gone to a flick since February. Its been even longer since I’ve gone solo. A spontaneous decision and showtimes that synch have made this possible.

I feel like a kid, catching a summer blockbuster on its opening weekend. I hope Inception lives up to the hype and raves of friends. But even if it doesn’t, the adventure of taking myself out was thrill enough itself. At 2h28, I’m sure I’ll find something to enjoy.

No photo, of course, because it’s too dark. Shhhh! It’s starting.

online/offline day

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

And they say that the Internet is making us more isolated.

Not so, not today.

After much napping, neti potting, tea and ibuprofen, I finally felt good enough to get up and at ’em. So I took my couch mate, Nurse Janie to a dog park. The little miss doesn’t get to too many parks, but by the grace of the ‘net and, I knew there was a French bulldog gathering today, although we were pretty late. The five remaining Frenchies weren’t as interesting to Ms. Sparkles as a tennis ball, so I was the social one with strangers and their pups.

Then it was off to coffee. The closest to home and most dog-friendly is the cart at Sightglass. In addition to being so delicious, they are on Twitter and that was how I first learned of their cold-brewed spiced iced coffee. (it doesn’t hurt that a Twitter founder is an investor.)

Janie had a spa appointment in the afternoon (which turned out was a false alarm, no need to “express” herself). Afterwards, we found ourselves jonesing for a lunchie-type snack. A quick check of Twitter revealed that the taco bike by Weird Fish would be at Dolores Park, but I knew parking would be a nightmare. Luckily, just then, a friend checked in on FourSquare at the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, a restaurant I’ve watched in blogs and on social media. Roasted wild mushrooms with gruyere and fontina? It was worth the wait, and I’ll be back for more, for sure.

The afternoon happened, with more recovery naps, and dinner loomed. Lucky for me, for the entire month of July, Hapa Ramen, a husband and wife food cart/tent duo, was setting up outside at Coffee Bar. You guessed it, both are on Twitter. The cafe posted their guests’ stint a few weeks back.

I’ve been trying to check out Hapa Ramen since I first started reading their saga of perfecting their broths and the chef giving up his gig at a respected restaurant for the life of a vagrant vendor. I even went by on their first day at the Ferry Building, to only find lines and that they were sold out by 12:15. Every other time I read about them being somewhere, I had conflicting plans. Homemade noodles, fresh sweet corn and an earthy miso broth with a beautiful sous vide egg did not disappoint. I’m now a devoted follower of the chef, his wife and the business from now on, because I could eat a bowl of that almost every night.

So what’s this about the web ruining the real-world of communities? It has connected me more deeply to my city and people who are doing interesting things in food and experience creation. Heck, all of them are trying hard to connect people more deeply with those who are growing and preparing the food. Technology is getting me back to basics and close to our roots.

And, pardon the pun, it feeds my soul. Yum.

the weather

Friday, July 16th, 2010

I am.

I felt “off” riding home from work. Felt, not fell.

Muscles were weak, chilled to the bone, sore throat. Took a nap with Janie until dinner. Food made me feel slightly better, but it’s going to be a mellow night. Thus, not much to share.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

(did you get the “I am under the weather” title?)

A sniff in time

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Riding home from work, having missed synchro practice on Wedneday evening, I was pretty cranky. Frustrated by my inability to take care of myself and create balance, I cursed my lot in life.

It was riding past this building that shook me out of my funk. You’d know it if you smelled it! This is where Ritual Roasters roast their coffee beans.

The batch that what was cooking up grounded me in the present. A whiff and a sniff and I was reminded that all is well in the world. All I had to do was breathe. Everything else was in my mind.

My bike and my senses mattered. I was alive and smiling. Future and past need not be present.

Sidewalk sparkles

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Shiney bits on the ground on Bastille Day. Walking to lunch today with Sally, the concrete was alive with the glitter of magic! It was like daytime fireworks under our feet.

I had planned to write about the passing of the seasons, especially summer. How it just doesn’t mean the same thing to me as an adult. Especially in San Francisco. Sure, the days are longer and the quality of light different, but it does not hold the magic of days of yore when the academic calendar ruled my life. Well, that and summer humidity.

Just today I saw a back-to-school sign in a store and felt nothing. Once upon a time I would have lamented the impending end of my seasonal freedom. Instead, I felt nothing.

As midnight is fast approaching, I’ll save my memories of 1994 fireworks in Paris on Bastille Day that inspired fear and awe. (However, I did have a surprise run-in with my Tours roommate Celeste just yesterday, a trip down memory lane outside of Ritual Roasters. More on that some other time.)

For now, I’ll just summer solo in my memories of vacations past.

Thumb’s up?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I woke up this morning with a stiff, aching thumb. I’m sure it’s from last night’s knitting—a casualty of 2.0mm needles and yarn intended to be on slightly bigger needles. (what can I say? I like a dense gauge in my socks.)

It’s not like I’ve been overdoing it, rather underdoing it, so that an evening’s work has me off my game. I’m just not hitting the wool as often as I used to. As I’m “getting back into shape,” I expect there may be a few mornings of exhausted digits.

Why so little needle action? It hasn’t been a drought (although there have been days at a time where it’s just work, dinner and bed). More like intense bursts.

There’s not too much I can share at this time, but once they are released into the wide world, i.e. published, I’ll be popping them up here. Instead of regular, casual knitting, it’s been purpose-driven completion. Great stuff, if I say so myself.

I look forward to some meandering, non-deadline, non-thinking knit time later this summer. That’s still a garment or two away. Until then, it’s time to test my thumb. I don’t want to take a night off, especially as there’s a matching partner that hasn’t even been begun.

The life of a tortured artist? Nope, just a very grateful-to-be-creating guy with a funky finger.

healing waters

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Granted, it’s only been three practices and a Sunday afternoon working on skills independently at Berkeley (pictured), but my return to the pool feels like a return to myself. I’m not recommitting to joining the synchro team forever and ever, but I know it’s good for me. Or better than what I’ve been doing.

There’s something about that first dive in#&151;the deafening rush of water and air as you break the surface followed by the dulled silence underneath. Supported, life doesn’t feel so heavy. My mind isn’t thinking about the upcoming workout or the preceding workday’s stress. It’s a transition between then into the now. (Sometimes made even more “now” if the water’s super chilly!)

I’m not in the same shape I used to be in. I’m not able to do the same moves. I’m learning the beginners’ routines and just trying to have fun.