August 2001

Summary: Patrick and Amy make pottery. Kevin, Shelly, and Glenn visit. Patrick discovers MixMeister. We help Brian and Kelly move. Our range leaks gas. Dianne visits. Gail delivers a big photo. I see Tom and Bill at Glenn's 32th birthday party. Patrick starts classes at City College. Patrick gets an idea for a new book.

Dates on this page

Wed 1

Patrick and Amy go to Terra Mia on Castro to paint their own pottery. Patrick, Amy, David, and I dine at Eric's on Church. We very much enjoyed the appetizer sampler (complete with drums of heaven); walnut prawns; mushrooms, water chestnuts, and pea pods; and five spice chicken. Afterwards, we get coffee at Tully's on 24th.

Thu 2

Salmon, broccoli, and new potatoes for dinner. Chris De Lay sends me this in e-mail today: "The weird thing about colored ketchup, is that it... uh... comes out just as colored when you poop. Disturbing..."

Fri 3

For dinner, spinach and chicken sausage and potatoes goulash, basil pork chops, and corn on the cob.

Sat 4

Patrick goes to Jumpin Java. Frank does benefits paperwork and errands at home. Lunch at Jitra. Patrick finishes his final version of "Love is the Rage."

Sun 5

I am amazed to find that we ended up paying $7.00 per person to see a matinee viewing of Final Fantasy at the AMC 1000 Van Ness—with commercials! I tell Patrick maybe we won't go to the movies anymore, and he laughs but I don't. Before the movie we lunch at Venture Frogs, which was disappointing in so many ways: $2.00 for a soft drink, they brought one entree before the appetizer (and then took the entree away without asking), the potstickers were from the freezer not fresh, and they segregated the gay diners from the straight ones. Grocery shopping at Tower Market.

Mon 6

Dinner at home: shrimp and yellow bell pepper stir-fry. Haircut. Today on MUNI I saw a young black kid vandalizing the Forest Hill station and the inside of a MUNI train car. He had a maroon hairpick sticking out the back of his giant afro, and I wondered if it was a fashion statement or if he was a victim of a practical joke or if he considered that a normal storage receptacle and possibly there were other hair care tools somewhere in there. His writing device was a thin-nibbed marker of color, and he didn't write anything legible—just swirls and random arcs all over. The train was packed, and maybe fifty people saw him and watched him deface public property, and no one did a thing because, like me, they all were probably thinking he had a gun, knife, or fist that you didn't want to encourage in your direction. I could feel everyone around me collectively sigh and wonder where the justice was.

Tue 7

Patrick got his haircut today and picked up his pottery from Terra Mia. It's a large pasta bowl (or fruit bowl) which he painted with pears and cherries on the inside. It's delectable. Patrick makes salmon en croute for dinner for the first time. It is delicious. Side of yams.

Wed 8

Aaron and Jamie come over for dinner. We have cashew hoisin chicken, garlic braised beef, pastries from Chinatown, and Traditional Medicinals raspberry tea "for feminine well-being."

Thu 9

Today for the first time I forget to get off of MUNI at Forest Hill Station while going to work. I was reading The Daiquiri Girls by Toni Graham and looked up just as the doors were closing. This book is a nice read, as it is well-written, but an unforgivable number of editing errors appalled me. Kevin and Shelly come down from Redmond for a short but fun visit. They see our apartment for the first time, and Kevin drools over my computer rack setup. We get late-night dessert and fries at Baghdad Cafe, which must be the only place in San Francisco that doesn't have soy for the coffee drinks. I introduce Kevin, Shelly, and Glenn to the terms "table cleavage" and "couch cleavage," which are the things created when two tables or two couches are butted up against one another.

Fri 10

This morning I learned a most telling thing about San Franciscan culture at the bus hut across from the Forest Hill MUNI station. The grafitti that had been all over the hut's walls for weeks had finally been painted over with beige paint—and then was vandalized anew, probably the very minute the paint was dry. I realized then that there are parts of San Francisco that people will never see without grafitti. Patrick meets me for lunch at Pomelo. I have miso and yakisoba. Patrick has bread n butter and spiral pasta in meat sauce. After work, we meet at the West Portal for errands. I send e-mail and work da journal listening to the road trip playlist. Burgers, fries, and corn on the cob for dinner. We watch State & Main on DVD. It is a wonderful day.

Sat 11

Patrick discovers MixMeister and becomes instantly addicted. I pay bills and file paperwork. Sam comes over and we all get a snack at Ambrosia. Lunch at home - leftovers from Pomelo for me and Patrick has ?. We have dinner at Jitra. We considered going to the Castro to hang with Brian and Kelly, but we could not summon the energy to do so. (We should have napped in the afternoon.)

Sun 12

Sam comes over for a brief visit. We watch Bound on DVD. Patrick and I go to Fort Funston and watch the hang gliders and the people with doggies. Eric's for dinner. We wanted to go grocery shopping, but we don't have enough energy.

Mon 13

Patrick makes a veggie stir fry for dinner. We listen to a mix of Madonna songs he mixed in MixMeister on his laptop.

Tue 14

After work we had planned to go grocery shopping, but I was so tired once I sat on the couch that we ended up ordering delivery from Taipei Restaurant (which is two blocks away) thinking that that would give us energy to shop. So we ate and then we found that we were just as tired as before and so we went to bed. Does everyone have days like this?

Wed 15

After work, I meet Patrick at Nirvana. I have the folkanese soup with chicken; he has the spinach ramen with chicken. Jasmine tea. Then, we go to Brian and Kelly's housewarming party and see their new home at 1992 15th Street for the first time ever. As our gift, we bring a very tall, red orchid whose exact genus is not easily identified, even by orchid experts. We both like their place a lot and are amazed at how spacious it feels for a San Francisco home. (About 1800 square feet, Brian says.) My favorite room is the living room with the corner fireplace. Patrick's favorite room is what will soon become the master bedroom, so chosen by Brian and Kelly because it is the furthest bedroom from the street and therefore the quietest. Brian says it doesn't quite feel like home to him yet, and that's understandable as they have yet to move all their stuff in. In some places the previous owners have gone crazy adding layers of paint to layers of paint, blurring the edges of moldings and corbels, but Kelly mockingly fears that a small, starter paint stripping project will reveal a "clean spot" that would necessitate the same work to be applied to the rest of the house. I know how he feels. A whole bunch of their friends arrived to celebrate, and hopefully they all signed the butcher paper Brian left out with Crayolas and Mr. Sketch Scented markers. Patrick and I plan to help them move boxes this Sunday. Unless I'm mistaken, this was also my first time meeting Denis.

Thu 16

Today on MUNI for the first time I've seen we pull into the West Portal station and the steps on the MUNI car are still down. People who didn't notice they had to jump a 3-foot gap to board the train promptly fell about just as far downward. It was grievous. After work, Patrick and I met at Stonestown Mall for dinner and also because I needed to do research on potential haircuts for me. I sometimes call Stonestown "Asiantown" because there are so many Asians there. It's a great place for researching Chinese male haircuts. Unfortunately, we discovered that nearly all Asian boys and men in the mall had the same early 2000's style of haircut: closely cropped at the sides and about 1.5 to 2 inches long on top, either spiky or brushed forward or very little gel porcupinesque. We bought a gift for Tina and Daniel, considered getting Patrick's watch fixed, and found a Kuhn Rikon potato masher on sale at Williams-Sonoma for $6.

Fri 17

Today Cindy and I get lunch at Miz Brown's Feed Bag after spending all morning in web meetings. After work, Patrick and I go to Taipei for pot stickers, sizzling chicken on hot plate, spinach with garlic, and prawns in lobster sauce. Patrick's fortune cookie said, "Good news will come to you from far away." Mine said, "Be tactful; overlook not your own opportunity." Then we went to Tanforan Mall in South San Francisco. It's my first time, and I expected the worst since Patrick says it is trash. As we neared the heavy Sears glass doors entrance, a man was exiting, pulling a small girl of about nine and a half behind him. He neglected to hold the door open for her, so the door hit her arm, and she cried out: "Ow!" The man paused for a second, looked down behind him, chuckled, and they continued on their way. I was horrified. Turns out the girl didn't start crying or even complaining, which prompted Patrick to say, "I guess she's used to it." We were at Sears because I'd finally had it with our gas range. For the past three days, I've walked into the kitchen and heard the oven on even when the switch was off. Fortunately, Marcia (aka The Best Landlord in the World) helped us get PG&E to shut off the gas to it and has offered to let us pick out a new range. We were going to go to Cherin's on Kelly's recommendation, but they close at 5:30 pm and Sears is open till 9:30 pm. Sales Associate Dave Nayar kindly helped us build our order once we found the perfect choice. If you need a range, go see Dave. I thought the mall wasn't as bad as Patrick suggested because of the live plants, lack of graffiti, cheezy murals where shops should have been, and the Choo Choo time train ride. They even have a Panda Express. Oh yes, we bought night light bulbs at Target, too.

Sat 18

Woke at 5:00 am and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and worked on Gail's website for a bit. Ate some oatmeal, cut my hair, took a shower, talked with my brother-in-law, talked with my sister, talked with my nephew (who at 1.5 years old has been taught to say "bonjour" and "au revoir"), talked with my brother, got tired, took a nap. Today I found out that the best man at my sister's wedding used to administer the server I'm now in charge of at UCSF. Woke, met Patrick at Starbuck's on 18th. He got tickets at Castro Theater for Chinatown, which was playing back to back with Touch of Evil. Fifteen dollars just for tickets, but it's a double-feature and no commericials. After being swindled by other theaters charging $7.00 for a matinee and they still showed commercials, we realized that the Castro Theater is something we love about San Francisco. We'd seen Touch of Evil on DVD not too long ago, so we didn't stay for it. After the movie, we stopped in on Brian and Kelly's old place. Kelly happened to be there looking over the remains of what was left to be moved. We decided to get some dinner and met Brian at the new place at Church and 15th. We ate at Warakubune, a Japanese restaurant whose main attraction is the oval island of sushi chefs and their moat of sushi-delivering boats. Then we looked over a portion of Brian's vinyl collection.

Sun 19

Today we had breakfast at The Port Café then helped Brian and Kelly move their stuff out of their place on 19th Street to the home they recently bought at Church and 15th. Carole showed up to help, too. Brian and Kelly rented a 14-foot truck for half a day and did two moves. Afterwards, Carole took off and we remaining four got a bite to eat at Sparky's. Patrick and I headed home after that. I stole a nap and then my brother Dexter arrived after having hiked in Muir Woods in the morning. He got takeaway from Jitra and ate in our dining room. Later, we had dinner at Eric's. The appetizer combo, spicy chicken with basil, walnut prawns, and beef with snow peas.

Mon 20

Today I launched Netscape Navigator 2.0—an old version—because I wanted to test a printing issue. Navigator launched and loaded the default Netscape home page which instantly spilled several Javascript errors on my screen and then displayed an access violation error forcing me to quit the application. (sigh) After work, Patrick, Brian, Kelly, and I dined at Bombay Indian, then desserted at Simply Desserts. Back at Kelly and Brian's, we enjoyed the fire Brian made in the fireplace for a few minutes before venturing into the cold wind to catch MUNI home. Today was cold, overcast, and windy. It seemed everyone I ran into during the day scowled because of it.

Tue 21

Today Patrick and I had dinner at El Toreador. It was awful because they put cheese in my order even though I had said no dairy, no milk, no cheese several times when ordering. The waiter also forgot to bring us one course of our meal (the soup), and he neglected to fill my water glass even after I asked him for water. The food was great when it arrived as ordered, but it was the first time in months I left no tip.

Wed 22

Today after work I met Patrick, Sam, and Sam's mom Dianne at the Thai restaurant across the street from Castro Theater. We had: appetizer platter, butterfly shrimp stuffed with crab, chicken pad thai, and yellow chicken curry. After that, we picked up Sam, who was in class at City College, then stopped at 7 Eleven to get Dianne a Diet Coke. They stopped by to see our apartment, and then it was time for bed.

Thu 23

At work today, Gail dropped off a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction for me. I put it on the wall, and my office now has an elegance that never existed before. Dinner tonight was at Thanh Long, again with Patrick, Sam, and Dianne. We had three kinds of crab: roast crab in garlic, drunken crab in Chardonnay, and tamarind crab. My dish was butterflied prawns over garlic noodles. The desserts were banana cake, bread pudding, and chocolate cake. Everyone's favorite was the banana cake. Service was surprisingly sophomoric, almost as if you could tell someone took the effort to train them, but they just couldn't get it down or quite possibly they had too many tables to work. Still, Dianne called the evening "exquisite" and if it weren't for the tasty food I would have silently disagreed. Dianne got a Diet Coke at 7 Eleven again.

Fri 24

Sam, Dianne, and Patrick have breakfast at The Port Café then see The Curse of the Green Scorpion at the Metreon. Patrick called Marcia and found out that she okayed our pick for a new range. Dinner at Hawthorne Lane with Sam, Dianne, John, and Patrick. Appetizers: miso glazed black cod with sesame spinach rolls and soy-lime vinaigrette ($13.50); Nancy's Istara cheese soufflé with prosciutto di Parma and fresh figs ($14.50); and seafood platter with mussels, clams, prawns, Dungeness crab, oysters, and three dipping sauces. Main courses: I had Chinese style roasted duck with steamed green onion buns, fresh lychees, and plum sauce ($26). Patrick had grilled spiced pork chop with marinated beets, baby squash, and fried stuffed squash blossoms ($27). Dianne had grilled tenderloin of beef (rare) with cranberry bean and chanterelle ragout with roasted garlic gnocchi ($32). John had sauteed Alaskan halibut with white bean puree, lemon aioli, and crispy fried brandade knishes ($27). Sam had roasted rack of lamb with zucchini risotto and stuffed heirloom tomatoes ($34). Desserts: mango, plum, and melon sorbets stacked between oval meringue slabs and mini cubes of pink-colored Jell-O ($8); warm chocolate truffle cake with candied almond ice cream ($9.50); blueberry crepes soufflé with Champagne gelée and blueberry compote ($9.50); selected artisanal cheeses and seasonal fruits ($12). (We had one other dessert but cannot remember what it was now.) Wine: Chateau Potensac, Medoc, 1996 ($65). Piano: Dave Austin.

Sat 25

Breakfast with Sam, Dianne, John, and Patrick at The Port Café. Shopping in the Castro; we go to Flux Gallery, which had just opened this week. Patrick and I return home, and Patrick naps while I take care of paperwork. Patrick and I go to Glenn's 32th birthday party. We bring takeout from Jack in the Box: chicken nuggets, fried chicken burger, and fries. I see Tom Worrell and Bill Kirby for the first time in almost nine years. We give Glenn a card with pressed flowers and Patrick's first DJ mix of Madonna.

Sun 26

Last night I dreamt that I saw a dirigible explode. The unusual thing was that it was the size of a skyscraper and shaped (if you were looking top down) like an eye—two mirrored arcs joined at the ends. I had a clear view of the accident—I watched it fall from the sky as if in slow motion. I felt as though millions of voices cried out in pain and were suddenly silenced. After that dream, I dreamt I was at someone's swimming pool and was witness to a mass murder. Somehow the pool water was poisonous, so some of the victims died because they fell in and came into contact with the water. At one point, I noticed the pool water level was rather low, but at the moment I noticed that, it started rising very quickly, as if by magic rather than by some huge pipe from below. I was not a participant in this dream; neither the victims nor the murderer knew I was watching. The people died somehow, but I saw no blood. After a few minutes, two of the hunted people had survived, and I woke just as the final faceoff and showdown had begun (but no words like "To be continued..." had appeared). Breakfast at Café for All Seasons where the menu's fine print snobbily says, "Well-behaved children welcome" and "Quality takes time." It's crowded, and we end up reluctantly taking the worst table (right in front of the door), but it ends up being worth it because the next four-top was about 15 or 20 minutes more. Patrick and Sam both have waffles (everything on it). I have eggs (ordered scrambled easy but which arrive scrambled normal) with sides of sausage, bacon, and pan-fried potatoes. Dianne has a fruit bowl and an omelette. The complimentary crushed pecan muffins to start and orange juice in a wine glass are nice touches. Sam and Dianne tell of their previous day's journey to Guerneville and the Triple R Resort. Afterwards, I return home to meet with Gail about her website. Later, Patrick and I get dinner with Kelly and Brian at Elephant Bleu, where they tell you an order of Vietnamese coffee takes "about 20 minutes," but it really takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

Mon 27

Today Patrick and Sam saw Dianne to the airport. I went to work. After work, Patrick and I met at Firenze by Night for dinner because Marcia graciously granted us a meal because our range hasn't been working properly. Over dinner, Patrick tells me his idea for a new collection of stories. His first words are: "We're gonna be rich!" He forgot to say, "...and famous."

Tue 28

After work, Patrick and I had dinner at Nirvana. Then we went to A Different Light Bookstore for Mike Albo's reading of Hornito. It took us about an hour to travel from the Castro to Lakeside Village on MUNI because only two M trains came our way in that time and the first was unbearably crowded, so we didn't board.

Wed 29

Patrick and I met for lunch—the first of our Lunch on Wednesdays series. We went to Pluto's. We had chicken and flank steak grilled sandwiches, onion rings, and potato rings. It was our first time eating there, and we almost left because we couldn't figure out the wacky system of ordering food. Turns out we liked the food, but hated the unnecessary punch card system and poor lighting. And if we're not given table service, we expect to save a little money, but not so. Twenty bucks for lunch, we had to stand in line and get our own tableware, and we didn't even booze it up. Consequently, we're unlikely to eat there again. After work, I met Patrick for dinner. We had planned to go to a reading by Paul Borja, Krandal Kraus, and K.M. Soehnlein, but I left work late so we missed it entirely. We went to dinner at La Monné which had opened in October 2000. We had tiger shrimp salad, mini-tacos, pork adobo, wasabi mashed potatoes, sake, and jasmine tea. The tiger shrimp salad was four grilled shrimp served over mixed greens with a vinaigrette and some sliced avocado on the side. I felt compelled to ask our waitron if this $12 dish was normally served with only four pieces of shrimp, but I didn't want to create an embarrassing situation (for them). The mini-tacos were deep-fried wonton skins shaped like tacos and filled with beef and a salsa-like dressing. This is a creative concept, but it creates inelegant dining, for the first bite invariably causes the entire taco to fall apart in one's hand. Although the fillings were tasty, I'll never order it again. The pork adobo was essentially roast pork in its own broth with some cabbage and other vegetables chopped small. This dish had either too much salt or too much wine (or both)—the salt and wine flavors overpowered the pork. Also, it should automatically come with rice because the broth spilling onto a plate with nothing to soak it up felt, again, inelegant. Our waitress was both very friendly and very familiar with the menu. However, as she was the only waitron for the room's ten four-tops, service got slow as the restaurant filled to capacity. We enjoyed the artwork: reproductions of early twentieth century Asian advertisements for bath salts, cigarettes, and alcohol. Also impressive were the glass-topped, solid wood, copper-finished, square tables inset with fluorescent domes which are covered with blue decorative rocks. The music selection was hip, but the room should have had more speakers to spread the pleasure evenly. The worst part of the interior design is something that is very easy to fix: it was too dark. Our table was so dark that I couldn't tell what color my teacup was. I surmised it was a dark blue to match the teapot, chair cushions, and decorative rocks, but I wouldn't have known for certain if I didn't pull out my flashlight. It turns out the teacups have an intricate sticks texture, and they are indeed blue with some green and some brown mixed in. In short, La Monné is a lot of great ideas executed carelessly. Why would you make it so dark that your guests couldn't enjoy the beauty of your tableware? Why would you serve a shrimp salad with only four pieces of shrimp? Why would you burden everyone with only one server for 40 people? And just because I like to whine: Since when does it cost $2 for a soda?

Thu 30

After work, Patrick and I ate at Luna Piena and was served by James. We sat on the back patio, which felt like a boat except the floor didn't move. It was windy, so the heat lamps were hardly effective even though all of them were on. We had potato leek soup, fettuccini with chicken, and roasted grilled chicken with potatoes. We'll never go back because our meal took an unusually long time and because one dish was salted too heavily just before serving. What a waste of $38.45.

Fri 31

Today at work I saw a policewoman standing just off of the curb in the crosswalk when it was not the pedestrians' turn to cross. She was directing three women to Cole Hall, and all four of them were standing in the street there. Then, out of nowhere, a MUNI bus appeared and needed to pull in to the bus stop nearby. It honked at the women, and they stepped back a few steps—but not up on the sidewalk. (Where is the justice?) Today at lunch I asked the woman behind the counter at Panda Express, "Do you know what the noodles are made of? Is it wheat or egg or something else?" And she replied, "Oh! I can give you half and half." (Presumably, the most common question in her robotlike job is whether someone can get half of the chow mein and half of the fried rice instead of all of either one. "Anothah-ihtem-fo-won-dolla-mo'?-Thaaankyouuu!") She was never able to adequately answer my question, even after fighting with her co-worker in Chinese about it. Dinner at Jitra: garlic prawns, musmun beef, steamed rice.