January 2002

Summary: We finally get high-speed Internet at home, We go to a poetry reading featuring Daphne Gottlieb and Thea Hillman, Hanging Loose decides to publish "I Wouldn't Say No"

Dates on this page

Tue 1

New Year's Day. Slept. Patrick picked up a ham and cheese sandwich and a spinach and feta calzone for us for lunch. For dinner, we had a mushroom, bell pepper, and sausage pizza from Mr. Pizza Man.

Wed 2

First doctor appointment with Dr. Owen. First day back at work. I rework our stylesheets to incorporate font size and other changes. I set up a new printer in my office: a Lexmark Color Optra 45, chosen for its ability to print color to tabloid pages, which is very useful for web work. Patrick makes chicken in hoisin glaze and steamed rice for dinner. Vicki mailed me a funny label from a garment: "PRE-WASHED—This garment has been pre-washed and pre-shrunk by a process known as pre-washing and pre-shrinking. There should be very minimal shrinkage. Wash cold with like colors to avoid bleeding (of colors)." My mom and dad sent me a very flat package ten inches square. Before I open it, Patrick guesses that it's a calendar and that it has "lots of foliage." So I open it, and we laugh and laugh because it turns out to be exactly that: "The Garden Path: A Calendar for 2002". Patrick got lots of errands done today: made an appointment for a massage, picked up forms for getting a refund from the post office because his package to his mom didn't arrive overnight as expected, started writing again for his novel after a 10-day break.

Thu 3

Watched Lord of the Rings with Amy, David, Robin, and Laura. We met Laura for the first time—she's David's sister who lives in Noe Valley and is currently in law school.

Fri 4

I sent this email today: "Hi—i just woke up but i'm trying to catch up on email. very groggy right now. what's new? i'm reading the 4th harry potter book. it's huge, have you seen it? i'm on page 517 or something. good stories. we saw Lord of the Rings thursday nite—very very good but the ending disappointed me. we also saw Harry Potter on xmas day—that was fun, too. lately we've been playing a lot of scrabble. i bought P deluxe scrabble for xmas—writers, you know, they love word games. i've been winning every game from the start—about 6 games now. last night, i beat him 399 to 159. he's not very happy about it—blames it on bad luck of drawing bad letters. last night's game for instance, he was drawing all vowels and i was drawing all consonants. he says statistically my winning streak must end, so today i have a little statistics lesson for him. :-) what else? we're still wanting to leave SF and California primarily because of the cost of living and incommensurate salary. we don't know where yet, tho. my web server (frankfarm.org) is still down because speakeasy has failed 3 months after i notified them we were moving to get our dsl line installed, so we're resorting to another broadband method. at home we've had nothing but dialup since we moved in Nov 1—it's been painful—and only on patrick's computer since i couldn't get the line sharing thing to work across the network in windows. we got plenty of great gifts, but i've now grown sleepy again and very hungry. i'm still keeping the journal, so you'll be able to catch up if you want when the server is back up. okay, good night!" Dinner: braised beef with garlic, boiled spinach with boiled egg slices and paprika. Scrabble with Patrick.

Sat 5

Breakfast at home: cheesy egg, sausage, bagel and cream cheese, cherries. Worked for Marcia from 5 pm to 9 pm, mostly fixing things with Valentina's computer. Dinner at Chow: herbed chicken, mahi mahi, ginger cake.

Sun 6

Dinner at Chow on Church. Watched "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" on DVD.

Mon 7

Dinner with Amy and David at our place. They brought over some spicy beans and rice. Patrick made willow chicken with black beans. Played Harry Potter UNO with Amy—we didn't finish, but Amy is in the lead with 452 points.

Tue 8

Dinner is a burrito at La Avenida. I ate early because the doctor said I needed to fast before my blood test tomorrow.

Wed 9

Patrick and I get our blood drawn at Unilab in the Castro. He's very lightheaded afterward and we have a delicious breakfast at Cafe Flora: scrambled eggs and bacon, apple pancakes. At work today, I find a lot of our web content is coming in all at once. I reorganized the Admissions section to follow a more logical structure. I met with Susie, Angela, and Nancy about the faculty database. I put together the School Profile page for Susie to review. Patrick writes at Jumpin Java and Muddy Waters. Dinner at home: asparagus with chicken stir fry. We watch "Before Night Falls" on DVD.

Thu 10

Dinner at Big Mouth Burger. We meet at Aaron's place to accompany him to a reading. Georgie, Jamie, and Elena are there, and we chat and drink for a bit. The reading is a short walk away. Daphne and ? at the Jon Sims Center. It was the first time I'd heard Daphne read—she's fantastic.

Fri 11

For us, today is I-Day, which means Internet Day! After abandoning the awful (lack of) service we experienced with Speakeasy, David helps us configure our new Internet connection. Speakeasy was completely incapable of moving our DSL connection from our old address to our new address. I had faith in them, but after 3 full months since I notified them of our intention to move and after having been moved in for 2 full months, they still didn't have our DSL working, I gave up on them. Our new connection is cable modem, and we've never browsed the web at such speeds before. We played Scrabble and Harry Potter UNO. In both games, Aaron was the champion. He duped us all into thinking that "kago" was a real word. (I had my doubts, but didn't challenge because it wasn't good for my strategy.)

Sat 12

We eat oatmeal and cereal for breakfast, then play with our new Internet connection for awhile. I configure IPs and DNS settings. We call Brian and Kelly to invite them along on our trip to University Avenue in Berkeley so that we can use our Barnes and Noble gift cards that Sam and his mom Dianne gave us for Christmas. They decide to go, too, and Brian drives us over in their car. We strolled through downtown Berkeley and find the Barnes and Noble. Patrick buys "Exile and the Kingdom" by Camus, "Anil's Ghost" by Michael Ondaatje, and "The Algeria Hotel: France, Memory, and the Second World War" by Adam Nositter. I bought "Kodak Guide to 35 MM Photography" by Kodak. For lunch, we stumble upon a great Irish pub called Beckett's. Our server has a scraped up nose, and Brian publically imagined that he had gotten in a bar brawl recently. "They don't call them the fighting Irish for nothin'!" However, he confessed instead that he had gotten it in a fall, not a fight. His charm was enough to change two drink orders from a soda and an iced tea to two beers.

Sun 13

Bagels for breakfast. Napped most of today while Patrick wrote. Errands at Walgreens and CALA Foods. Dinner at home: roast chicken with mashed potatoes and corn. Worked on Gail's website. Patrick got a lot of writing done today. He's almost done with Chapter 9 of Second Island.

Mon 14

Web meeting at work today where we talked about font sizes and other issues. Our web project was expected to go live tomorrow (January 15) but none of the content had been ready to hand off to me due to others' resource constraints and commitments to other projects. Dinner at home: pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob. Very tired tonight, so I went straight to bed afterwards.

Tue 15

Implemented various stylesheet and template changes from yesterday's web meeting. Did usability testing in the afternoon. Patrick makes chicken soup for dinner to keep a sore throat of mine at bay. We watch "Requiem for a Dream" on DVD.

Wed 16

Worked late today. Worked on the Information for Current Students section of the new website.

Thu 17

Followup appointment with Dr. Owen. Worked on the Graduation section of the new website. Bought Acrobat for Chris. For dinner, Patrick makes chicken soup and a salmon with a vegetable stir-fry. Was tired, so I went to sleep early.

Fri 18

Woke up at 3:30 am, so I got up and worked on the journal. There was much to do, as I had not been able to update the journal since October 27 due to our lack of Internet connection (Speakeasy's fault). I populated entries from local data, tweaked the main journal code to include annual summaries, and now it's feeling much better. There's still a bunch of journal entries on my computer at work, though, so I'll have to get to them later. At work, Martha and I work on stylesheets. Patrick buys me a delightful bouquet of oriental poppies. For dinner, I decide we haven't been to Eric's in a long time, so Patrick meets me there and we have a great meal: sizzling rice soup, chicken with basil (not spicy), beef with scallops, walnut prawns, steamed rice, tea. My fortune cookie's fortune says, "Try something new." Patrick's fortune cookie has two fortunes: "Try something new." and "A sweet surprise awaits you." We go home and play Scrabble. (I win 454 to 232.)

Sat 19

For breakfast, I had oatmeal and hash browns, Patrick had a bagel. Napped. Leftovers from Eric's for lunch. Amy and David came over for dinner: Austrian hunter's stew with french bread and wine. Afterwards, we played the playing card game they brought with them called Royalty. It's like Scrabble, except with playing cards and slightly different rules. David won with 277, I came in second with 206, Amy was very close behind me with 198, and Patrick took fourth with 181.

Sun 20

Breakfast at home: scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns. Napped. Worked on Gail's website while Patrick finished chapter 10 of Second Island (he split chapter 9 into 2 chapters because it was so long) and read Allan Stein. McDonald's for an emergency late lunch. Played Scrabble: Patrick beat me 325 to 273 (!)—perhaps the best game yet he's played against me. Leftovers for dinner.

Mon 21

Went downtown: Picked up our legal documents from Harold Lustig, went to Eddie Bauer to exchange a jacket Sam gave us for Christmas, lunch at Tony Roma's, shopped in the Castro, Patrick got a perfect box for free from a nice guy behind the counter at Cliff's Variety for his manuscript submission to the San Francisco Foundation literary award. Patrick makes dinner at home: creamy herbed chicken with mushrooms over thin spaghetti. We talked about who Patrick would choose to play characters in his story. For the mom in Before Las Blancas, he thought Cher or Madonna. For Neil, he thought Jude Law or Guy Pearce. For Evan, we couldn't think of anyone, but Patrick wanted dark hair, preferably black. Patrick thought about it more and came up with Frankie Muniz or Daniel Alan Radcliffe.

Tue 22

My web team at work presented our nearly finished site to the dean, chairs, and other important people of the School. The presentation went well, and we got some good feedback. Did usability testing in the afternoon. Dinner at home: mushroom upside-down meatloaf, mashed potatoes with southern gravy, steamed broccoli, french bread, Peet's Ceylon iced tea. We talked about popular literature and how to make literary fiction popular. I installed some Photoshop filters we need for Lodestar.

Wed 23

At work, I coded stylesheets for Netscape 4.x and 6.x for Windows. I also put together the MySQL database and corresponding PHP code for the website's glossary. Patrick found out today that a publication called Hanging Loose wants to publish his story called "I Wouldn't Say No." We have a small celebration dinner at home, and Amy joins us. (David is at class.) Amy brings spinach bread for dinner and 3 pastries for dessert from La Nouvelle Patisserie. Dinner is chicken paprika, corn off the cob with dill, and mashed potatoes. We three play a game of Scrabble; Patrick wins. David stops in to say hello after getting back from school.

Thu 24

At work, I coded stylesheets for Netscape 4.x and 6.x for Mac OS. I fixed bugs and added features to the glossary. Dinner: Subway sandwiches: For Patrick, a footlong roast beef with provolone on wheat no pickles. For me, a footlong turkey with provolone on wheat. Shopped for a birthday present for Victor. Shopped for a bookcase for my office.

Fri 25

At work, I coded stylesheets for Internet Explorer 4.x for Mac OS and worked on changes for the Admissions section for James. Joel and I had lunch at Nan King Road Bistro. Dinner at home: asparagus beef with steamed rice. While chatting on Yahoo! with Patrick about being mutually unsatisfied with planning weekend things to do, I come up with an idea: We each find one fun thing to do, and we don't tell each other what it is until we get there. He goes along with it. I already have mine.

Sat 26

Sam calls at 8:04 am to let us know that he's bringing over hot pork buns. I just happen to have gotten up 20 minutes before he calls, but Patrick is still in bed. Sam doesn't arrive for another 50 minutes or so, so by then we're both up and invite him in for a chat. We talk about how Simmone took all of his neckwarmers, which are like socks you wear for your neck. They reminded me of legwarmers from the Flashdance era. Sam takes off to buy more neckwarmers. Patrick goes to meet Aaron at Jumpin' Java while I read over "Love is the Rage," the title of which Patrick has now changed to "An Undisturbed Dark Place" at the suggestion of David Lister from the Bellingham Review. I meet Patrick at A Different Light Bookstore at 1:00 pm. We went to my secret fun thing to do: the Cartoon Art Museum at 655 Mission Street. The exhibits were Dan Piraro (Bizarro), Jeff Smith (Bone), Edward Gorey, and their ongoing gallery of a history of cartoon art. The exhibits were fun—it was neat to hear people laughing in a gallery space. 655 Mission is new for them—it opened on December 1, 2001. It's very nice inside—comfortable and well lit, except for the display cases in the centers of the rooms. Of all the exhibits, my favorite is Piraro because his humor and satire are just what I like and mostly because his personal notes provided delicious insight into nearly every piece. Afterward, we got a snack at Cafe de la Presse: onion soup, crab cakes with spinach, latte bowl, orangina, and chocolate croissant pudding with pecans and caramel sauce—$38 after tip (!). We go home and I nap while Patrick looks over my revisions. We listen to music.

Sun 27

Patrick and I get brunch at Bugaboo. We take BART to Berkeley to Patrick's surprise thing to do for the weekend. It turns out to be a photo exhibit at UC Berkeley Art Museum. Sebastiao Salgado's "Migrations"—and it happens to be free today—an unexpected bonus for us. Patrick found the exhibit moving (despite the pun) and educational, and I had to agree. It's easy to not understand how much suffering exists outside the United States, but the exhibit serves to undermine our ignorance in hopes of creating a better world. It's the kind of thing we think everyone should see. We strolled up and down Telegraph Avenue looking for that famous pizza place but I didn't remember the name of it and none of the pizza places we came across sounded right. We ended up dining at Berkeley Thai House—good-to-very-good food that came quickly and a very efficient wait staff. (The curry chicken is better at Jitra, though.) On the BART ride back, Patrick reads from Truman Capote's "Other Voices, Other Rooms" and I read from Felice Picano's "The Lure." At home, Patrick and I worked on my small changes to "Love is the Rage" and I read more of "The Lure."

Mon 28

At work at our staff meeting, I receive a Bear Hug for my work on the website. A Bear Hug is a gift certificate to Macy's, usually about US$25. I helped Melissa with a problem printing documents with bullets. I rescheduled nightly backups to start at 6:00 pm instead of 10:00 pm. I updated virus definitions. Susie, Martha, and I meet to discuss last-minute things for the website. I learn at this meeting our live date has been pushed back again, this time to Thursday, February 7. We propose 3 ways to resolve the "Information For" section being too low on the page. We decide on new templates of templates for the School of Pharmacy. It's more work for me and Martha, but it will be worth it in the end. By the end of the day, I have the 3 "Information For" mockups ready for review. I've also put in the Research and Partnerships content for Susie to review. I reinstalled Retrospect for James, whose computer has not been getting backed up the past 3 days due to a failed connection. Tonight, Patrick has a class at City College (Homosexuality in Recent Cinema), so it's the first time I can remember that he's not home when I get home. He's left dinner for me in the fridge: beef with bok choy stir fry in black bean sauce. I create a new playlist: "Angsty Mellow Grunge" which contains Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20, and all those other bands that sound just like them. (Patrick doesn't like that stuff, so I play it when he's gone.) On his way home from class, he rents Jurassic Park 3 on DVD, so we watch that before bed. It was very entertaining—not as bad as Patrick remembers some of the reviews.

Tue 29

Mocked up live designs for the "Information For" rightnav on the home page. This evening at home we heard two gunshots right outside our window. Pop! Pop! One right after the other. I had been in bed, very tired after getting home. Patrick was scared to look out the window. It reminded me of the night a few months ago that a man was beaten by a group of young men outside the McDonald's around the corner from our place. We hadn't seen it ourselves, but our neighbor Amy did and rushed home to call the police. Tonight is the first time I can recall gunshots, however. And although I can imagine some jaded lived-here-longer-than-you San Franciscans thinking that we're lucky to have gone 3 months with no gunshots outside our home, I have higher expectations for the city I choose to live in. We huddled in bed for 30 minutes afterward wishing our fears away.

Wed 30

Finished the "Information For" rightnav on the home page. Implemented changes from yesterday's usability testing data. Patrick shines my boots today. Patrick and I watch Simpsons episodes: Mr. Sparkle, Lisa the Vegetarian, and ?.

Thu 31

I worked with Cindy on changes for the PharmD section. She gave me many great corrections and suggestions, especially for the Current Students page. We had fun doing it. The development server was unavailable today for over 4 hours due to network connectivity problems. Joel and I lunch at Nan King Road Bistro. Patrick fell ill with another cold. He thinks he picked this one up from Aaron, whom he had recently visited and who has also been with a cold for a while. It's in Patrick's nature to want to keep getting things done even when his body is under siege with a cold virus. He bought groceries, did some laundry, got more Simpsons episodes for us to watch, received a package from UPS, and checked e-mail. When I got home he was in bed, and he looked and felt miserable. He had started his homemade 4-hour chicken soup recipe before I got home, and I finished making it and fed him dinner late. He doped up on Nyquil and was back in bed by 9:30 pm.