October 2001

Summary: Patrick and I sign a deal for a new rental. Patrick signs his contract with Curtis Brown, Ltd. Patrick participates in the 4th Lambda Literary Festival (formerly Behind Our Masks).

Dates on this page

Mon 1

Still sick today from a cold. Patrick and I weigh the pros and cons of staying in San Francisco. I tell him I'm making a prediction—that one year from now less than half of our friends in San Francisco will still be living within the city limits. For the record, they are 14: brian, kelly, aaron, jamie, amy, david, eric, brian, domenica, corey, bob, nina, kim, marcia.

Tue 2

I go to work even though I'm still sick because I want to go to the Ergo Fair so that I can pick out a new chair and a keyboard tray. I'm impressed with the Steelcase Leap chair and the Humanscale Freedom chair, but none of the keyboard trays feel right to me. I end up choosing the Leap chair because I want to punish Niels Diffrient for presuming that I don't want my positions to lock or that I won't bother to learn all the controls they can put in. The Freedom chair has superior grace in mechanics, but the Leap chair is more configurable, so the winner for me is Steelcase. After work, I meet Patrick at Amy and David's Victorian apartment because their landlord, Clay, is moving out of the unit below them, and we happen to be looking for a new place just now. Turns out that the arrangements are perfect: he'll be out two weeks before our lease is up. The new place—886A Capp Street—is nowhere near the beauty of our current 302 Junipero Serra Boulevard. However, it's in the Mission, which means Hello, sunny skies! We'll have a dishwasher (!), garage (!), washer/dryer in the garage (!) at no extra charge (!), all utilities paid for except phone and DSL (!), all for the low, low, price of US$1400/month (!!). Gas range, gas(-only) fireplace in our bedroom, hardwood floors, central air heating, a tiny space in back for barbecues or whatever. Like all great housing finds (especially here in the bay area), the timing was key: Clay had two other interested parties coming the same evening, but we beat them to it by only hours or minutes. Patrick arranged this meeting rather spur of the moment, so we forgot to bring a check for a deposit. However, our friend Amy is Clay's new property manager, and she's so excited at the prospect of having us so close by that she offers us a pseudo-check-loan for the US$2800 move-in fees for 24 hours until we can get our real check to Clay tomorrow. It's the first time I've ever gotten a place without providing a credit check or references from past landlords or even a signed statement that I have no water-filled furniture. Clay trusts Amy, Amy trusts us, and there's still a legal document we all sign. The whole deal goes down and is done so quickly that Patrick and I have trouble sleeping after a celebratory dinner at Eric's. Suddenly there is everything to arrange, and in one month, we'll be sleeping in a different room, hearing different noises at night, and exploring the Mission's eateries like we always wanted to deep down. Best of all, it means we'll finally be able to start saving some money so that we can leave the cost-of-living suckhole that is San Francisco. We cannot believe our good fortune, and we know we have Amy and David to thank for it.

Wed 3

Patrick drops off our deposit check with Clay and signs our rental agreement. Then he meets me after work and we go to the School of Pharmacy Skit Night—a collection of entertaining performances and outrageous wackiness by our students and faculty. We laugh and laugh at send-ups of the Village People, Charlie's Angels, Alanis Morissette, and more. I'm still sick—lots of congestion in my nose and chest.

Thu 4

It takes me an hour to get home from work. I wait about 25 minutes for a 43, then at Laguna Honda Station I find out that there's train traffic downtown from Embarcadero to Van Ness. An 18 minute wait, and luckily the first train is a 2-car M—just what I want. Patrick makes a kamikaze stirfry: leftover five-spice chicken from Eric's, asparagus tops (because the bottoms had gone bad), red bell pepper, and broccoli.

Fri 5

Patrick and I meet in the Castro for dinner. We stop in to see if Brian and Kelly are home. Brian's there, but Kelly is out drinking with friends from work. Brian joins us for food, and we try eating at the unnamed Japanese restaurant across the street from Warakubune. There are people waiting outside, but inside the waitron/hostron won't take our name down to reserve our place in line: "Jus mekka line owsi." As I'm leaving, a disgruntled party enters the door thinking that they've been bumped out of line. You can feel the tension on your fogkissed-frosty skin, and as immediately as I rejoin Brian and Patrick, I say, "Let's leave." We chat a few minutes then decide we prefer the friendly orderliness of Warakubune. After dining, we get back to Brian and Kelly's to find Kelly home. We stay and chat. From the TiVo, Brian plays the theme song of the new Enterprise television series to lay clear its aural insipidity. "What were they thinking?" Patrick wondered. Indeed.

Sat 6

Lunch at Jitra. Watched the first two episodes of Star Trek Enterprise at Sam's place. Dinner at Paradise Pizza.

Sun 7

Castro Street Fair. Patrick and I get breakfast at Orphan Andy's, pick out photos at Gail's booth for Photos of Old America, chat with Jamie at the Friends of the Library booth, run into Brian and Kelly, then poop out and call it quits around 4 pm. We get home and nap, then at 8 pm we dine at Basil Thai and go to the Endup for Devotion, house music and dancing where tonight Miguel "Migs" of Naked Music is supposedly spinning the tunes.

Mon 8

Patrick and I meet at the Starbucks at 18th and Castro. I'm late because I thought I'd try to take the N-Judah all the way in to Van Ness and then catch another train to Castro but it never happens because the train stops exactly at the tunnel entrance behind Safeway and sits dead on the tracks for about 15 minutes. Eventually, the driver backs the train up enough to let people off at Church Street. We're trying to save money, so we dine a budget meal at Nirvana by splitting one person's meal in two: steamed dumplings, spinach ramen with chicken, one iced tea. It happens to fill both our stomachs. We get groceries at Cala.

Tue 9

Patrick makes yellow curry chicken for dinner tonight.

Wed 10

Tonight we go to Azteca with Sam for burritos and flautas. After, we check out Pilsner Inn, but it's boring so we go to N'Touch where we play pool and Patrick spins around on the dance floor to the handbag house that's playing. A few hours of fun.

Thu 11

Yellow curry chicken leftovers for dinner.

Fri 12

Patrick and I have dinner at the UCSF Medical Center cafeteria then see Moulin Rouge at Cole Hall Cinema.

Sat 13

Errands and planning for our forthcoming move to the Mission. Took some stuff over to our new place—our first day of moving! We realized the place needed a serious cleaning. Walked around the Mission with Amy who gave us a wonderful tour. Lunch at some Middle Eastern restaurant. Stayed in for the night. Missed the party to which Brett invited me.

Sun 14

Picked up HIV test results (negative for both of us—we're not in high-risk categories). Bought a shirt on sale at the Gap. Patrick bought The Bridegroom by Ha Jin at Aardvark Books. Stopped at Brian and Kelly's and chatted with Kelly for a minute. We shared a burrito at the burrito joint near A Different Light Bookstore. Coffee at Spike's. Shopped for groceries at Cala Foods. Worked on Lodestar. We were gonna go out tonight with Sam but couldn't find an event that seemed interesting and was inexpensive.

Mon 15

Patrick makes linguine with chicken and asparagus for dinner. Ordered rubber stamps and address labels at iprint.com for our new place. Caught up on old e-mail. Worked on Lodestar postcards.

Tue 16

Patrick gets a lot done today: He met Shannon at our new place for her to do her cleaning, picked up dry cleaning in West Portal, got keys made. After work, we meet at Bombay Restaurant for dinner.

Wed 17

Patrick meets with Aaron to let him borrow his laptop for writing. Patrick and I get our domestic partnership document notarized. It's like our anniversary all over again. Lunch at Pomelo. Dinner at Chow on Church: noodles, pizza, iced chai, root beer float, cannoli.

Thu 18

I wonder why I don't put more about my work in this journal, so starting today that's what I'm going to do. Today I had another great meeting with Susie and Martha about the School of Pharmacy website. We discussed second drafts of Martha's graphic designs for the site. Many important topics were covered: link colors, background colors, image choices, column layouts, and so on. It was somewhat exhausting, but we are making progress and this project excites me a lot. After work, I met with Patrick at Azteca. We ate then we met Aaron at the Pilsner to go to the kickoff party for writers and editors attending Lambda Literary Festival 2001. It was at the charming home of Jewelle Gomez. I met many people but can remember few names, for I was rather tired from work that day.

Fri 19

Dentist appointment at the office of Mat Kiisk. I didn't like having to wait a month between my pre-cleaning appointment and my cleaning appointment. When I arrived at the office, I was told by a man who called himself Jacques that he was a dentist who was helping Dr. Kiisk out with hygienist cleanings. He rushed through cleaning my teeth. For example, during the polishing stage, some of my teeth were polished for less than 0.1 seconds. At work today I fixed Debrah's computer, which had been blue-screening at random with growing frequency. My fix was to install Windows 2000 over Windows NT 4.0 SP6a. I used PartitionMagic first to convert the C drive from FAT to NTSF, then rearranged the space on the disk to make a backup copy of the original C drive partition. During the Windows 2000 install, I got an error message which said, "Setup could not locate the Windows installation you want to upgrade." This is covered in the Microsoft KnowledgeBase (Q242066), so I found it quickly. After making a Windows NT 4.0 boot floppy and handcrafting my own boot.ini file, I quickly resolved that problem. The installation continued, and then at the completion of the installation, another error: "KMODE​_​EXCEPTION​_​NOT​_​HANDLED." Ack! I found the answer on smart​comput​ing.com: the problem has to do with ATA/66 UDMA 4 hard drives and the question of motherboard support for it. However, it seemed from the answer that all you needed to do was hit the Reset button and all would be well. This turned out to be true for me. After all this, I realized my Partition​Magic boot disks and my NT4 Emergency Rescue Disk were of no help, so they went back into the "reformat and relabel" box. I stayed late helping Chris with a corrupted installation of Eudora. The problem was that his inbox had completely disappeared—no messages when yesterday he had plenty. I fixed it in less than 15 minutes: restored his Inbox from yesterday over the network using Retrospect, and reinstalled Eudora to a new folder. Also freed space on the C drive from about 23 MB to 300 MB. Got a burrito at Azteca. Brian and Kelly weren't home, and Patrick was at Lambda Literary Festival, so I went home and packed some boxes for our move. I listen to a message on the answering machine. It's Tina, and the message is a few days old—we've been too busy to even check our messages. Patrick listened to the message last night and he told me he thought Tina said she bought a Lexus. That sounded a little weird to me, since I know she loves her brand new VW New Beetle. Turns out she bought a Lexmark all-in-one scanner, fax, printer machine. It's not Patrick's fault—our answering machine has terrible sound quality. I laughed when I figured it out.

Sat 20

Worked on Lodestar. Errands and packing. Walgreens. Bought boxes and scheduled a truck for Sunday next weekend. Checked the air levels in the tires of my car (all normal). Lunch at McDonald's. Dinner at home: a baked potato with mushrooms. Patrick came home late after having drinks at Mecca with some Lambda Literary Festival people.

Sun 21

Worked on Lodestar. Today was Patrick's panel at the Festival: Creating Universal Themes in GLBT Literature moderated by Jim Tushinski and with Elana Dykewomon, Peter Weltner, and Elizabeth Stark. After that, he moderated the panel called Affliction Fiction with Carol Guess, Krandall Kraus, Katherine Forrest, and Felice Picano. As public speaking has never been his predilection, he did acceptably well on the first panel, and much improved on the second (perhaps due to Aaron's drag queen tips).

Mon 22

At work I encountered difficulty installing Windows 2000 Professional for Melissa. The installation hangs on startup unless I press F8 and use VGA mode. No resolution yet, but late in the day I find on a gamer discussion board the idea of putting her graphics card in the first PCI slot to force-disable the integrated video. Dinner with Patrick and Sam at Minh Tri.

Tue 23

At work I purchased and set up a brand new Apple PowerMac G4 (533 MHz) for testing web pages. I was connected to the Internet in maybe 7 minutes. The hardest part was looking up a static IP address I could use. I also set up speakers for my PC in anticipation of the arrival of Jaws. I set up PharmAdMIT 4.0 for Joel and Debrah. No time to work on Melissa's computer, but she's out for one more day tomorrow. Patrick arranged an appointment for a moving company, bought a shower curtain, and packed. Dinner at Fuzio. I ate dairy products for the first time in months (the dairy was mostly in the tiramisu).

Wed 24

Patrick and Sam moved three Mazda-323-fuls of stuff to our new place. At work, it's Joel's first day. He's our new Student Affairs Coordinator. I have a web review meeting with Susie, Martha, Andy, and Jeff in preparation for our big meeting tomorrow with Mary Anne. For lunch, James, Joel, and I went to Chow. In the afternoon, I prepare Chris's computer for Windows 2000 by installing PartitionMagic. I also try to determine the problem with Melissa's computer. Turns out the PCI graphics card was already in slot number 1. It still seems like a video problem, but I don't yet know how to resolve it. For dinner, Patrick made linguine in marinara sauce.

Thu 25

Resolving the problem with Melissa's computer turned out to be easier than I thought. Contrary to what you might expect, I had to re-enable the damaged onboard video in the CMOS settings. Somehow this lets Windows 2000 see the PCI graphics card in slot 1—the only weirdness is that the screen is all black during boot. I discovered that this works by having two monitors plugged in at the same time—one to the onboard video, one to the graphics card. During boot, the boot sequence actually appears on the onboard video monitor, but when the boot finishes, that screen hangs and the graphics card screen takes over like normal. It was weird to watch—like a medical anomaly of cranial functions. Web meeting with my web team cohorts and Mary Anne, the dean of the School. She liked what she saw and what we were doing, so we have her approval to continue working on our redesign project. Cindy approved my proposal to purchase Jaws, which is software which translates web pages into spoken words so that blind people can use them. I showed Joel more of how to use Windows—MeetingMaker, Word. Dinner with Patrick and Sam at Jitra. After that, Sam went home, and Patrick and I got bubble wrap and stretch film at Office Depot, then picked up large boxes I had collected at work. Installed anti-virus software on Patrick's computer. Fixed some Lodestar problems. Set up Marcia's DNS for her website.

Fri 26

Riding MUNI bus 43 home from work, I feared for my life. Some of the more jaded San Franciscans would laugh at that statement, perhaps with a mocking retort ready for firing. But this driver must have been on drugs. We went from the stop at 4th and Parnassus to 6th and Parnassus (which is downhill) at about 40 miles an hour. The rest of my trip was similar, with each stop ending with G-forces you don't come to expect on public transit, the beauty of the synchronicity as 100 bodies are lurched and 100 hands simultaneously reach up in fear to grab a metal bar to prevent injury. When we rounded the corner at 7th and Lawton, I thought the bus was going to fall over on its side as the rear wheels hiked up the curb because he took the corner too tight and too quickly. If anyone from MUNI is reading this, I didn't get the driver's name, but his bus number was 8832. He is easily the worst driver I've experienced on MUNI busses, and if you know how many bad drivers MUNI has, you know what that means. If there were justice in this world, he would be strapped to the front of the second-worst MUNI driver's bus for a year. If only I were dictator. Earlier in the day, I handled computer emergencies. Melissa's e-mail would hang whenever she started it. After much troubleshooting, turns out the Diamond III S540 graphics card drivers (5.12.01.8006-8.30.24) are not compatible with Eudora Pro 5.0 (paid mode) in Windows 2000 SP2 at 32-bit color. I dropped it down to 16-bit color and now e-mail starts fine. I introduced Joel to borders and shading and drawing tools and tabs in Microsoft Word. Ena needed a file restored from backup tapes, but it had been too long and we didn't have it on backup. In the afternoon, I worked on the code for the School's new home page. I built revised code for the global "navigation" bar, put in dummy local navigation, and created placeholder table cells for the home page images.

Sat 27

Woke up at 5:00 am, couldn't get back to sleep. Is it move jitters or my failure to regularly drink a beverage whose vendor claims it provides calming relief for people with today's busy schedules? It was at this moment, however, at five in the morning, that I realized what file structure I wanted for our new website. I had already known that I wanted to use symbolic links to global template files, but the question remained of how to integrate the content. My scheme will separate the template framework from the content code so that we can deliver screenreader-friendly web pages with the same ease as we deliver pages ideal for sighted visitors.

Sun 28

I can't recall what I did today.

Mon 29

Patrick unpacked the bathroom, living room, and bedroom at home. By the time I got home from work, everything was just perfect. He had lit candles from Illuminations to remove the remaining odors. It was a soothing homecoming after waiting about 30 minutes for a 43 bus. We dined at Saigon Saigon with Amy and Robin. A rainstorm washes the city during the night, our first night in the new place. I wake at around 3:00 am, can't get back to sleep until about 5:00 am. Patrick has trouble sleeping, too, but we didn't seem to have woken at the same time.

Tue 30

I take MUNI bus 49 from 24th and Mission to Van Ness. It takes a long time because the bus stops every block or two. Once at Van Ness, the J-Church outbound is easy enough. Reconfigured Retrospect backups because somehow the volumes I had originally specified weren't being caught by the daily backup scripts. Reconfigured Cindy's virus scanner to shred suspect files. Helped Joel install Adobe PageMaker 6.52. Lunch with Joel at Panda Express. Joel tells me that I can take BART instead of the 49 bus; my MUNI FastPass lets me travel on BART inside certain city limits. Did my first web usability testing for the School of Pharmacy site. I spent two and a half hours with Shawn and about 30 minutes with Patra. They both had a lot of ideas and gave excellent feedback. Couldn't upgrade Chris to Windows 2000 as expected; not enough time. Going home tonight, I try Joel's advice and it works like a charm, so now I'm able to love BART like all BART commuters because it's significantly faster and more reliable than MUNI. More rain again tonight. Another interrupted sleep night.

Wed 31

Halloween. Upgraded James from Windows NT 4.0 SP6a to Windows 2000. Got the "Setup cannot locate the Windows installation you want to upgrade" error message (Q242066). Resolved it by examining the SETUP.LOG file on the Emergency Recovery Disk I had made just before upgrading to modify the C:\BOOT.INI file to strip out all the corrupted entries. (I don't know how they got in there.) So the installer ran, but at the end, I again got the "Driver IRQL not less or equal" error. Rebooting is okay, Windows 2000 starts, but after it starts, it won't shut down or restart. Trying to shut down or restart does nothing—the only way is to press the Reset button. After installing SP2, it's better—Windows puts up the dialogs saying it is shutting down, but at the very end the screen goes black and the IRQL error returns. At home, Patrick spent a long time on the phone with Pacific Bell. It's the usual story (the same as I experienced when I called in mid-October): he is transferred to a different department more than once, has to redescribe our situation each time, is somehow disconnected once or twice. They make an appointment to send someone today between 12:00 noon and 5:00 pm, but they never show up. We go to dinner at La Krewe, a New Orleans restaurant only a few blocks away. Patrick makes friends with the chef who is also from New Orleans. The chef gives us Jell-O shots and offers to bring us something that's not on the menu. It turns out to be one of his specialties: a large red bell pepper stuffed with a spicy mixture of rice, andouille sausage, and love. We go to Halloween in the Castro with Amy, who is dressed as "Pink Slip Pam," dressed stylishly with a real pink slip under her dress. Her schtick is to hand out slips of paper that tell people they are fired, and her accompanying witticism is, "But at least you have tomorrow off!" Patrick runs into two people he knows: Mike McGinty and Alyssa Blackman. We get caught in the crowd of people trying to see some naked people, and the thickness of the crowd is frightful for a few minutes. However, we manage our way out of it, then call it a night and find a cab for the ride home.