September 2001

Summary: First Dinner at Brian and Kelly's, Patrick sees Madonna in concert, We discover Ton Kiang, Terrorists hijack four planes and attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Patrick gets the thumbs up from an agent at Curtis Brown Ltd., We both suffer from colds.

Dates on this page

Sat 1

Today I opened my first full month's paycheck from UCSF. Lunch at Chili's in San Bruno. Sam took John, Patrick, and me out to dinner at Tokyo Teriyaki. John had not eaten much Japanese food before, so he was learning some about the different foods but he picked up quickly by the end of the meal.

Sun 2

Lunch at Jitra. Leftovers for dinner.

Mon 3

It's Labor Day today. Lunch with Patrick at Azteca. Hang out with Brian and Eric and Brian. BK is painting the master bedroom and tells about his adventures last night at the Pilsner Inn. Kelly had to work today. Patrick and I get dinner with Kelly at ?.

Tue 4

After work, Patrick makes his ever-appetizing yellow curry chicken recipe at Brian and Kelly's for dinner. It's the first homecooked dinner in the dining room in their new home. We also have steamed rice; a mixed greens salad with mushrooms, peppers, and vinaigrette; and some naan picked up from Bombay Indian. We toasted with chardonnay and Calistoga lemon. Nina dropped by in a surprise visit. Eric H did as well just a few minutes later. Brian told of layoffs his company had today, and the other big news today was the HP and Compaq merger. For the first time I've heard in the new place, Brian says, "This feels like home." After dinner, we gathered in the kitchen (briefly) then the living room. The talk of Bea Arthur's recent visit to A Different Light Bookstore two weeks ago prompted the programming of The Golden Girls in the TiVo, and Brian then had a sudden urge to watch Designing Women as well. We happened to catch one on right then, watched the last ten minutes, and then Brian declared he'd had enough Designing Women for the next decade. Patrick was very sleepy (maybe the wine?). We ended up leaving late—around 10:15 pm. We waited at MUNI Church Street station for 15 minutes, and then a MUNI operator in the station announced that there was a backup of trains at Van Ness. "It's gonna be awhile." We returned to the surface (where there were about 350 people on the Market Street island waiting for an inbound bus or streetcar), getting a cab after about 7 minutes (not bad, huh?), and making it home for $13. My one-month MUNI pass cost $32, but now I realize I need to allocate $45 per month for public transit.

Wed 5

Today it took me over an hour to get to work. I waited over 30 minutes for a 43 at the Forest Hill station and when it finally came, it was so packed that I nearly expected bodies to ooze out when the doors opened. I got to work at 9:35 am, and I was all beat at the start of the day after having stood for the past hour. Patrick buys a ticket to the Madonna concert from a woman who posted the offer on craiglist. The concert is tomorrow and he can't believe his good luck—the ticket only cost him $95 (face value) but others have been selling for $400 and up for the past several weeks. Patrick finished "Driving Lessons," which was the last story he needed to finish for his book, If We Were Electric. The book is finished, too! Patrick finished his French house DJ mix.

Thu 6

My team at work got treated by the boss to a dim sum lunch at Ton Kiang as a team celebration and teambuilding event. It was unquestionably the most impressive and delicious dim sum experience I've ever had in my life. Impressive because every dish was perfectly crafted, every flavor was the right amount of sweet or savory or both, the decor was tasteful, the dining room surfaces were free of filth, and the waitstaff's attention was friendly and impeccable. We even received an unsolicited clean plate exchange halfway through our meal! That was the moment I knew this place was something special. I've had a lot of dim sum in my life, and it would be a fruitless exercise to attempt a comparison with any other dim sum restaurant. Patrick sent submissions to Fourteen Hills, and he sent out his last two stories ("Love is the Rage" and "Driving Lessons") to Mitchell Waters. He also did legal and medical and dental provider research. At work today I called Domenica to see what was up and she told me she was going to the Madonna concert tonight. After work I got dinner at Sliders. Patrick went to see Madonna at the Oakland Coliseum.

Fri 7

Dinner with Domenica at Asqew Grill. We gave her Tina's gift (which Tina left with me before she moved to Hawaii): a blue sarong and plumeria-scented soap. Patrick and Domenica traded stories about the Madonna concert. And we heard a little about Domenica's recent visit to Iziba. We learn today from Patrick's mom that she has retired (hooray!).

Sat 8

Patrick visits with Aaron and Sam at Jumpin Java. Takeout lunch from Jitra: yellow curry chicken and musmun curry. Patrick submitted stories to magazines. Frank worked on Marcia's website. Dinner at McDonald's, and they again get Patrick's order wrong. Picked up videos at Blockbuster. Watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off on DVD.

Sun 9

Ton Kiang for dim sum; it's Patrick's first time and he says he shares my opinion of it. "The shrimp were done perfectly." Afterwards, we go to Office Depot for office supplies. Watched Four Weddings and a Funeral on DVD.

Mon 10

Warakubune for dinner, then picked up groceries at the grocery store across from Safeway on Market and Church.

Tue 11

Terrorists hijacked planes and destroyed the World Trade Center and a part of the Pentagon. Patrick and I found out as I was getting ready for work and we were checking the morning's news on the Web. We have no TV, so it was all web. Most news sites wouldn't load—we got the best data from news.com and nando.com. Neither Patrick nor I knew of anyone directly affected by the attack. At work, this day was the day before student orientation, so our office was beleaguered by last minute preparations as well. I had very little time to prowl the web for more news about the disaster. UCSF remained open and running, but managers were asked to give employees great flexibility to leave to attend to personal business or to be with loved ones. When I got home, it felt like the longest day I'd ever spent.

Wed 12

It was the first day of orientation, and I attended a presentation that included introductions from a lot of the School of Pharmacy faculty as well as a moderated discussion with second-, third-, and fourth-year students. It was fun to see students excited about their forthcoming schooling and careers.

Thu 13

On the second day of orientation, I gave a presentation about UCSF Internet and e-mail services to a full classroom of 122 students. It went very well, so I'm happy. Patrick made a delicious vegetarian curry with rice for dinner. I updated a bunch of web pages as well as my résumé.

Fri 14

We packed for a weekend in Santa Cruz.

Sat 15

We drive to Santa Cruz, see my brother's new place for the first time, see Johnson briefly as he stopped in while we were stepping out, then picked up Pete and Kim for a trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium. We got a quick bite to eat in the Aquarium's café, then set off exploring. We saw the new seahorse exhibit, jellyfish, sharks, giant sea cucumbers, octopi, sea otters, penguins, angelfish, pipefish, starfish, sea anemone, sea dragons, small birds, and more. We spent four hours there and saw almost everything. We drove back to Santa Cruz and dropped off Pete and Kim. We checked in to the Hilton Inn at Scotts Valley, rested a bit, checked out the hotel's pool, spa, and weight room. Then we drove to downtown Santa Cruz. Dinner at Restaurant Azur with Dexter, Johnson, Pete, Kim, and Patrick: salmon cocktail ($8.50), spiced prawns ($14), tomato salad ($12), tasting plate ($11), trout ($16), half chicken ($15), lamb chop ($18), duck ($17.50), coconut cake ($6), gelato espresso ($5). The food was delicious, but our server whose name appeared on our receipt as "Sully" (or Server Number 17) was unusually inattentive, and it cast gloom over our dining experience.

Sun 16

Breakfast at Zachary's with Jeff, Joy, Dexter, and Patrick. Afterward, we walked along Pacific Garden Mall. I was surprised that there were still empty holes in the ground from buildings that were declared unsafe and demolished after the 1989 earthquake. I was also surprised at how quiet it was, how spacious the sidewalks were, how slowly people walked with sanguine smiles—how seemingly the quality of life and the happiness of people were so much better than in San Francisco. We bought cookies at Pacific Cookie Company, looked in the Integrand Design building, browsed for housewares and books. Dexter got some bridge mix at Mariani's. Patrick and I got some of Rebecca's Mighty Muffins. Later, Patrick and I drove around Santa Cruz and the campus to see what was new and what was not. We get a chicken sandwich to eat at The Bread Shop, then we take off for Mountain View. We hang out with my sister Lani, my nephew Jeremy, and my brother-in-law Rob. Rob's parents arrive not long after—the start of a weeklong stay for them in Mountain View. We dine at Man Bo Duck Restaurant. Patrick's fortune says, "A friend is a present you give yourself." My fortune says, "You will inherit some money from an unexpected source."

Mon 17

Patrick sends a second batch of 20 submissions of his stories to journals and magazines. He makes a veggie stir-fry with rice for dinner.

Tue 18

Patrick worked on "Between Here and There (shortened)." Dinner at home.

Wed 19

Today Patrick said he heard a noise in the chimney for several minutes and he wasn't sure what it was. After a while, he realized from the sounds (flapping) that it must have been a wayward bird. I told him to investigate it by looking up the chimney with our big lightgun that I keep in the car, so he did. He approached the fireplace, peered under the edge of the opening, and found the bird inches away from his face looking right at him (!). He hadn't expected it to be so close inside, so he screamed, which startled the bird: flap flap flap. He called Animal Care and Control of the city and county of San Francisco who gave him suggestions but told him that they would not be able to come help us. Then he called Marcia, who said that in the past she would open windows and let it fly out through the house. So Patrick opened the windows, then got a towel and managed to wrap the bird in it enough to prompt it to do exactly as Marcia said. A thick layer of soot was left behind on the fireplace floor, and fortunately none of it got on the rug, hardwood floor, or furniture. Dinner at home: orechietti con verdure (with broccoli, zucchini, and portobello mushrooms).

Thu 20

Dinner at home: couscous with asparagus and mushrooms.

Fri 21

Dinner at Warakubune.

Sat 22

I worked for Marcia. Patrick met Aaron at Jumpin Java. Dinner at Taipei Restaurant.

Sun 23

Breakfast at Village Café. Grocery shopping at Andronico's. Drove through the Inner Sunset looking for new places to live. We saw lots of American flags in windows, as well as a few chickenfoot (peace) flags. We saw six places with signs or possible openings.

Mon 24

Big rainstorm this afternoon and evening. Lots of lightning and thunder. I get groceries at Safeway and burritos at Azteca.

Tue 25

Patrick gets a call from Mitchell Waters of the agency of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Mitchell says he's interested in representing Patrick. They talk for an hour. Just yesterday Patrick was telling me his doubts about the novel, feeling like it wasn't right or it was missing something or that he got the feeling Mitchell hadn't liked it. But no, it turns out Mitchell loves its complexity and challenge for a new writer such as Patrick. We celebrate with dinner: homemade pho with chicken and Peet's oolong fancy tea.

Wed 26

Talked with Marcia on the phone in the evening about her mouse adapter. I read and edited Patrick's latest version of "Feux Follet." What else did I do this day? I can't remember. Patrick tried to make cookies in the oven today, but the oven wouldn't come on. It's the first time we've tried to use the oven since it was fixed, so we think the guy needs to come back to make it work again.

Thu 27

Caught a cold. Patrick writes the outline for the second third of his novel. I read it over, and I can see the complexity which impressed Mitchell more than I had realized before. The novel has layers upon layers of interesting perspectives and angles. After reading the outline, I have confidence Patrick can pull it off. He's less certain than I am, but that vulnerability is part of his charm. I also read and edit Patrick's latest version of "Between Here and There."

Fri 28

I'm at home looking and feeling like the person at the beginning of a Nyquil television commercial. Box of tissues, sad and fatigued expression, sinus arrows floating over my face repeatedly indicating problems: clogged nostrilways, runny nose, headache. I attempt to brush away the arrows with my hand, but it is futile. Instead, I close my eyes and drink the honey, lemon, apple cider vinegar mixture that Chris C suggested and which Patrick produced in the kitchen.

Sat 29

Slept all day coz I'm sick with a cold. Patrick fed me chicken soup so much that he says he's tired of making it. "After you get better, we won't have soup for awhile, okay?" In the evening, we go to Margaret Cho's show called "Notorious C.H.O." to which we'd been looking forward since we got tickets over two months ago. It's a great show except that it was too short. We saw Brian and Kelly and Eric H.

Sun 30

Slept most of the day - still sick from a cold. Watched The Man Who Knew Too Much on DVD.