Summary: Vacation with Patrick to Los Angeles (West Hollywood, Universal Studios), San Diego, and Laguna Beach (continued); Patrick begins studying Mandarin
Dates on this page
Breakfast at The Abbey. Patrick and I went to Universal Studios with free tickets generously provided by Champagne, who works at a radio station. Some spoilers of the rides follow, so if you don't want to read them, skip to the sentence beginning, "We'd been driving through Silverlake..." We had a fun time and spent most of the day there. However, by the end of the day, we had grown tired of the identical, cheesy plotlines among many of the rides, and we were simply too exhausted to save the world a fourth and fifth time. The Mummy Returns: Chamber of Doom "ride" was really just an overproduce Halloween haunted house which they run all year 'round. It was fun for perhaps the first 30 seconds. After that, every corner was the same kind of thing—arms reaching out and grabbing you from the dark. Mostly disappointing. The studio tour tram ride was fun. I hadn't been on it since I was a kid. They've long taken out the rotating ice cave used in the Six Million Dollar Man and the giant foam boulders rolling down the cliff at you and the Battlestar Galactica encounter and the A-Team/Miami Vice Stunt Show. They kept Jaws and claimed to have "enhanced" it by adding gas pipes and lighting the ends on fire, but it's still as boring as it ever was. The flash flood is still my favorite part of this ride—it seemed mostly the same as before, but I think they built new barriers in front of the tram so that the water would splash more right in front of you. Patrick enjoyed learning about the sets of the fake cities. The Terminator 2 3D ride was really cheesy but entertaining in its way. The E.T. Ride was mostly forgettable, but I think Patrick liked the part where we're riding bicycles over the nighttime cityscape. (This didn't impress me, since it's clear they stole this from Disneyland's Peter Pan ride.) My favorite part was the policewoman standing by her police car with the C.B. transmitter in her hand and her arm was broken at the wrist so the C.B. transmitter, perhaps supported by a wire somewhere, was floating in the air in front of her face. Her hand was amputated, but yet she still stuck to her duties. It's hard to find that kind of dedication in amusement park rides. We also wandered into the Lucille Ball Tribute room, which had a slew of artifacts from her career—nicely done. The Back to the Future Ride won "favorite ride" from both of us. The lines weren't bad—about 15 to 20 minutes per ride. We skipped the Spider-Man Rocks! "NEW Rock 'n' Roll Musical", Water World, Animal Planet Live!, Backdraft, Jurassic Park Summer Splash, and a Special Effects show. Although we didn't ride every ride, we felt like we'd had a full day and gotten our money's worth.—We'd been driving through Silverlake because it is one of the smaller gay communities within L.A. and we wanted to see if it was someplace we might like to live. Of Silverlake, Patrick says, "It was more urban poverty than I expected. I guess I expected it to be more like Haight Street." We wished that we'd had a tour guide who could show us the parts of Silverlake that interested us. While on our driving tour of Silverlake, we discovered a week-old Indian restaurant called Tantra (3705 West Sunset Blvd, Silverlake, 323-663-8268), which was a pleasant surprise. The decor was high ceilings, dark red walls, fine furnishings. A combination of classiness and cultural sensitivity that I found refreshing compared to other cities in which I'd lived. What seemed to be Indian television was playing on a plasma TV in the bar. Patrick had a chocolate martini, and I had my usual, a Smith and Wesson. Though we neglected to write down exactly what we ate, our dinners were delicious. Service was particularly attentive except at the end, when they took a long time bringing and returning our bill. After returning to the hotel to nap, we checked out gay bars on Santa Monica Boulevard: Micky's, Rage, and Dudes. We liked the upper outdoor patio at Dudes, but it was almost completely empty, so we left. We spent most of our time at Micky's, where we danced to some nelly song about it being really hot in here and taking off all your clothes and other songs like that. This was also the first time we'd seen gay boys dancing to hip hop. We watched young guys dance inside a shower and big-muscled gogo dancers get tips from oglers. The DJ (we don't remember his name) was bad: mixes were sloppy and one record skipped.
Breakfast at DuPar's, the restaurant in the Ramada we were staying. Checked out of the Ramada. We stayed 3 nights. Our room rate was US$135 per night, which was the cheapest we could find in this area for these days for a room that would sleep four people. Parking was $18 per car per night. Our bill came to $532.65. Our Internet connection didn't work at all, and neither did the Internet kiosk in the lobby of the Ramada. Santa Palm Car wash. On our way to the 405 we stopped at a red light at Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevard. To our astonishment, a man wearing oversized clothes did 3 cartwheels in the crosswalk before us, crossing the half the street as he cartwheeled. When he finished, he jumped up and put his hands in the air. We didn't realize immediately what was going on. Patrick just thought he was very happy about something. After the man finished, he held out a worn, styrofoam cup to nearby cars like ours waiting for a green light. His gig seemed to be "cartwheels for cash," and it made my heart warm to see homeless people who still knew how to keep fit. Traffic on the way to Laguna Beach. Checked in to the Coast Inn, where we stayed in Room 29. Late lunch at Laguna Village Cafe where the view of the ocean was amazing and the service was exceptionally slow. The large table next to us had a fit when a seagull crapped on about 5 of the diners at once. Rented movies at Gay Mart. Relaxed, took a nap. Late dinner at Woody's, which we very much enjoyed. I especially liked the umbrellas which served multiple purposes: they were heatlamps, they provided lighting by way of a small lamp directed at the inside of the umbrella, and they provided protection from birdshit. You could tell that they were also quite adjustable, allowing the restaurant staff to open and close and reposition them as desired. The entire restaurant and bar was packed during our meal, mostly men between 20 and 40—a very social scene. Patrick had the ahi poke tower starter with the monkfish entree. I had the caesar salad and the mahi mahi. Patrick also had a glass of pinot la crema. I had an iced tea. For dessert, two coffees and one chocolate torte. Our bill came to US$86.20 before tip. Dinner here was enjoyable in all respects. The food was delicious. Our server Hector was attentive. The crowd was amiable. We'd come back again for certain. We went to the Boom Boom Room before 9 PM so that we could get in for free. The DJ in the front bar area pleased us more than the DJ in the back dance area. This was so much the case that Patrick told him as much.
Returned movies. Light lunch at an Internet cafe across the street from the Coast Inn. Steam room and full body massages for both of us at Spa Josephine (1400 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, 949-497-8461). Franz was our masseur—he was very good. Dinner at Savoury's (not Savory's) [1287 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, 949-376-9718], a fine dining restaurant of owner/chef Brad Toles. It's on the ground floor of the Hotel La Casa Del Camino, right across the street from Woody's. The gastronomic vision of this restaurant was as though Chef Toles asked himself with every dish, "How can we pack an astounding number of flavors into this dish and present it so that people's eyes pop out of their heads?" Consequently, every morsel of food seemed to have between 1 and 3 descriptors. You didn't get just butter, but rosemary butter. Your plate didn't have just one dipping sauce—there were 2 or 3 from which to choose, each of which had 2 or more ingredients. If you go to their Web site, you can see things like bread wafers cut into spoonlike shapes dotted with herbs and—in the bowl of the spoon—what appears to be at least 4 different foods: perhaps one is a prawn and celery nib sitting on a large scallop dotted with an herbed olive oil. Perhaps another is a slice of heirloom tomato with snippets of green and white asparagus tied together with chives. We can't say for certain, because their Web site is awful: one page predicted, "NEW SPRING MENU COMING SOON" in August, and the "Menus" page gave a "file not found" error. Nowhere on their Web site could you find anything describing the food in any detail, and even the few photos of food that appeared were too small to satisfy. During dinner, our senses were too overwhelmed to allow our hands to take notes, but, as an example, if you search Google for "savoury's judy chamberlain" you'll find mouthfuls such as "lobster and blue crab cannelloni" (3 descriptors) and "wood-smoked Chilean seabass" (3 descriptors) and "pistachio-crusted foie gras in a balsamic wine reduction" (5 descriptors). Yes, all our food tasted deliciously and was perfectly cooked, and yes, it was all presented in visually stunning ways, but in this artistic frenzy I was unable to focus my pleasure because every plate literally had 8 or more flavors competing against each other. Even the breadsticks plate was graced (or cursed) with this touch; they came with a whipped, herbed butter and an infused oil and something else we can't remember. It made me think, "Is this excess necessary to impart an enjoyable dining experience?" which is something I don't think I've ever considered at any other restaurant. The decor was very tasteful: a restrained take on modern Spain. Our table looked out across the outdoor patio tables onto the busy sidewalk and the busier main street, and the large, missiony archways allowed favorable lighting for our meal. Service was the finest we'd seen in a long time, certainly the finest we'd experienced on our vacation, so we reveled in the luxury. Despite my criticisms of the chef, I recommend dining here solely for the bizarre experience of attempting to decide whether the dish you just got was an atrocity of culinary arts or an artistic masterpiece worthy of a museum (or both). Most of the time, my thoughts ran like this: "how beautiful! ... my God that's a lot of flavors for one dish ... that's very tasty, but I can't remember what I just ate!" Our meal for two came to US$118 before the tip. Having dined there once, I don't feel the need to return unless it's for the selfish amusement of writing a small book describing exactly what we ate. After dinner, we hung out at the Boom Boom Room but got tired after a short while—it was the same as yesterday: good DJ up front, bad DJ on the dance floor. We left early and went to bed.
Breakfast at The Penguin Cafe, a typical Mom and Pop diner. Patrick thought the pancakes were especially good. Checked out of the Coast Inn. We stayed in Room 29, which had one queen bed and a tiny bath. Our rate was $149 per night for a Friday and Saturday night. Drove from Laguna Beach to San Francisco. Lunch at IHOP in Bakersfield. On the way home, we passed the cow ranch and it stank so much that Patrick decided to no longer eat red meat. Two accidents slowed us down during our drive back. The first one was near Buttonwillow. A truck had caught on fire, entirely burned to smithereens. There seemed to be no injuries. The second accident was near Crow's Landing. A truck and a Suburban had turned over on their sides. Four cars were involved, and we saw an ambulance as we drove past. Dinner at Jitra.
Met with Lisa Magargal and Jason Gow and Susie Levings about the PSPG subsite. Caught up on the 6 work days I was gone on vacation, mostly responding to e-mail, uploading small changes for James and Chris and Cindy and Susie. Set up a workspace on the development server in which Lisa can start working on her redesign. Lunch at Nan King Road Bistro: hot and sour soup, asparagus with salmon rice plate. Fixed the gate latch. Dinner at home with Patrick: BBQ chicken drumsticks, garlic bok choy, french fries. Folded laundry. Patrick started working on his second novel today. He's calling it "The Life of Heart."
Patrick went to jury duty today. He spent the whole day there, just waiting and working on his laptop with writing and mixing. At work, I upgraded Joel's computer, built a page for Ashley Truong and Julie Ryu for the San Francisco City Tours part of Orientation and put it up for review, built a page for Information for Spouses and Partners of Students as recommended by Chris and put it up for review. I installed Equation Editor for Debrah and showed her how to use it and resolved a printing problem for her. Dinner at Bangkok House with Patrick: thai iced teas, silver noodles with shrimp, steamed rice. Grocery shopping at Albertson's. Looked at photos from our vacation, which Patrick had brought back today from Wolf Camera.
Finished setting up Joel's new computer and started on Cindy's new computer. Upgraded Chris's and Ena's computers to Windows 2000 SP3. Lunch at Park Chow with Joel and Patrick. Dinner at home with Patrick: Portuguese fisherman's stew. Found out today that Melissa is leaving the office for another position elsewhere. Watched Diabolique on DVD with Patrick.
Checked Chris's laptop for viruses and a problem he reported of his IE start page getting reset by hacker and marketing scripts. Finished setting up Cindy's new computer. Late lunch with Joel. Set up Melissa's new computer. Dinner at home with Patrick: Patrick made a dish he calls Budapest: bow tie pasta with lima beans, red bell peppers, mushrooms, saffron, sage, garlic, shallots, butter, and olive oil. Wrote thank you cards for people who were kind to us on our vacation. Played Riven for 2 hours. We got stuck so we got some hints from a Web site. Total hours now = 14.5 hours.
Today is my telecommute day, but I came in to work anyhow because Melissa's computer was not all set up from yesterday—the updates took longer than expected. I did Microsoft Office updates for James. The Dean came in to the office today because she had lost a file that Cindy had sent her by e-mail and she desperately needed to retrieve it. It took only a few minutes, and she said some very nice things about the Web site and how well it was working and how she thinks I'm doing great work and she went on her way. Helped James import settings from last year's PharmAdMIT application into this year's. After work, I met Patrick at the Beanery. We walked to Golden Gate Park and picked up drinks at the corner sandwich shop on 9th and Lincoln. A sign pointing the way to Shakespeare Garden intrigued us, and after a few steps we discovered it: a cozy-sized garden with over 200 flowers and plants mentioned in Shakespeare's sonnets and plays and bronze plaques engraved with floral quotations. After checking out the sundial (which seemed to be an hour off because of daylight savings time) and resting a bit in the serenity, we headed to the Castro for dinner. We ate at Blue: Patrick had grilled salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans. (The salmon was too salty, the potatoes not salty enough.) I had veggie lasagna, which was delicious. Patrick couldn't place the face of our waiter, whom he knew he'd seen before. I eventually asked, and he turned out to be a waiter at a Japanese restaurant on Castro. We stopped in at A Different Light bookstore, which was not notable except for a moderately good-looking male customer dressed in jeans with the buttcheek panels ripped open from the top leaving a thong-like thread of jeans in between his butt cheeks holding up the rest of the pants below. The weather sure was hot outside today, but I'm guessing this guy had prepared these jeans well in advance of the current heatwave. The great thing was that the guy at the counter saw the guy's ass hanging out and didn't say a thing, didn't even smile. And no one complained. We stopped in on Brian and Kelly, who were both recovering from a cold Brian says they picked up from Jesse. Brian told us a funny story about Jesse vomiting. We all talked about Brian's journal, Brian and Kelly being sick with colds, Jesse and where he was at tonight (at a gay Christian party), how Jesse is sick all the time, Second Island. I learned more new things from Brian: what a bullet was, why San Francisco sewers are so stinky, especially on hot days (the waste sewage and the storm sewage both feed into the street sewer system), and how porn dubbing works. Brian is the Old Faithful geyser of knowledge.
Woke up late—11 AM. I dreamt last night that I caught a cold from Brian and/or Kelly even though we did "distance hugs" when arriving and departing. I also dreamt separately that it was raining very warm rain and I was in an area of sloping grass and water was streaming down the grass making it a little muddy and people wanted to slide down the hill in the warm muddy water but no one did. In the same dream I dreamt there was a puppy a little bigger than the size of my hand and it was running around on the ground in the rain. I picked it up with one hand and wanted to take it with me somewhere, but it wriggled loose and lay down near the building we were near out of the rain. I wanted to show Patrick the puppy, but I didn't know where he was so I let the puppy be. Tina appeared briefly in this dream. I was afraid she was watching me, and when I looked around the corner of the building, I saw that she was right there not very far away. She came after me quickly with an stern expression on her face, but I don't remember what that was all about and the dream drifted into something else.—We listened to Anthony and Champagne's music from their wedding. Did house chores: dishes, laundry, tidied. Late lunch with Patrick at Eric's Restaurant. Picked up dry cleaning in the Castro. Vanilla flan and a cannele and coffees with Patrick in Cole Valley at Boulange. We explored Cole Valley on foot: the dog park, the boutique called "egg," a coffee shop called Reverie with a great garden in back. Back at home, Patrick mixed music while I caught up on e-mail and journaling. Scanned in two iZone photos from Domenica's camera on our vacation. Late dinner: I had leftovers from Eric's. Patrick had leftover pasta with a fresh stir-fry of veggies. Laundry, dishes. Late dessert: Breyer's coffee ice cream. I scheduled birthday greetings by e-mail for friends' birthdays coming in the next month. Riven with Patrick.
Patrick and I went to see the movie called "Austin Powers in Goldmember" with Sam after seeing his new apartment all set up. The movie was a lot of fun; we recommend it. Late lunch at Chevy's where halfway through our meal one of the 2 guys at the neighboring table says to us, "Excuse me, I couldn't help overhearing your conversation, and I'm usually not this forward, but could you tell me are you all gay?" We laughed and I said yes, but it was somewhat uncomfortable because of his next question: "Do you know the cool places to hang out around here? Like at the beach?" The guy's friend didn't say anything to us; it was almost as if he wasn't there. After lunch, I napped while Patrick mixed music and started an outline of his new novel. Late dinner at home: rice pilaf with steamed baby bok choy. Riven.
Lunch at Pomelo with Joel. Fixed Meeting Maker for Joel: Palm synching wasn't working even tho the conduits were installed. The problem was that I was using the IP address and then I tried the dns name for the server name in the HotSync Manager configuration for "Meeting Maker Datebook". To resolve the problem, I instead entered the name for the Meeting Maker server (in our case, "SOPServer"). Fixed Eudora and PharmAdMIT for Melissa. Created a new icon for PharmAdMIT 2002 so that people could distinguish it from PharmAdMIT 4.0. Set up the new icons on 6 computers. Dinner at home with Patrick: fried cod and crimini mushrooms over pasta with spinach and corn. We talked with Georges today. It's the first day he's back from vacation. Riven: we've half given up trying to solve the puzzles and we're using hints from a fan's web site to muddle our way through. Maybe 24 hours total by now. I've lost track. I made pick pay cards for me and Joel. I ordered office supplies from Office Depot. I printed more business cards for myself. I balanced my checkbook.
Worked on the software cdrom for incoming students. Tried to get access to the CIT lab, but Brian Warling is on vacation and Gail Persily did not know how to set me up with a door code. We worked out a solution; not a big deal. Lunch at Paradise Pizza with Joel. I set Joel up with pick pay cards. Reformatted the fall 2003 schedules using the pretty page templates I created in InDesign, then gave them to Debrah for review. Bought InDesign at The Source for Debrah and installed it. Patrick and I had dinner at Kantaro with Marshall Moore, who talked about his boyfriend Anthony moving to San Francisco from New York at the end of August. Patrick worked on his outline while I caught up on e-mail.
Showed Debrah how to use InDesign. Lunch with Patrick at Beijing on Irving because San Tung was closed and we didn't know. Service was slower than expected so I tipped accordingly. Worked on the student database. Dinner at home with Patrick: bowties with garlic and spinach in a tomato sauce. Edited works for the forthcoming Lodestar Quarterly Issue 3.
Worked on the student database. Joel, Ena, and I got sandwiches at Subway. Got a door code for the CIT Lab from Gail. Prepared images for the Purchasing subsite. Dinner at home with Patrick. Worked on Ring Logo Roundup, which I hadn't touched in years. Improved W3C validation, removed all the links because companies were dying faster than I could keep up, added more ALT tags because I neglected to put them in oh so long ago.
Searched the Web for occurrences of "www.sop.ucsf.edu". When we switched over to our new redesign last March, I had put in redirects from www.sop.ucsf.edu to the new site. However, that old machine was a very old SGI Indigo pizza box running IRIX and it got to where we had to take the server offline unexpectedly. Google found 41 sites linking to www.sop.ucsf.edu URLs, so I contacted all 41 sites and gave them updated information for their Web pages. I sent Brian Kusler a link to yesterland.com and he sent me back this message: "wow! i would shit twice and die to have one of those communist-style modernist tomorrowland murals in my house. i wonder what happened to those..." Made changes to the faculty page for Susie and Nancy Jane. Made changes to the Entering Students page and the Application Workshop page for James. Added a new page to the Current Students section describing how and why to use anti-virus software. Updated the footer to conditionally show quality assurance links from my home IP address. Dinner at home with Patrick: macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, crab cakes. We finished Riven tonight. We had to use a lot of hints we found on the Web. I had gotten tired of the game, especially after seeing the answer to the Moiety gateway puzzle. So arbitrarily cryptic! Logical structures without logical meanings! Ugh!
I tested our sonic.net DSL connection at about 12:30 AM this morning (shortly after midnight). From the San Jose server, I got 1158/108! Awesome! I retested with the Los Angeles server and got 1216/110! Gotta love Sonic! Tried to pick up our mail from Jennifer Russow, but she wasn't home. Tried to go to the shoe store that Brian Kusler recommended to me at 19th and Valencia, but it wasn't open yet. Lunch at Khun Phoa Thai Cuisine on Market. We'd never been before and weren't impressed. Patrick had the yellow curry chicken, which failed to have tender meat and succeeded in having a too watery sauce. I had pad thai with prawns, which was not extraordinary. Visited Brian and Kelly, who were now taking antibiotics for strep, into which their recent colds had turned. Dinner with Julianne Bonnet and Danae Clohan at Home Restaurant. It was my first time seeing Julianne since perhaps 1993-ish when she was with Dan. She's 8 months pregnant but still looks great as ever. We talked about their baby making process (Anthony is a gay friend of theirs, Gwen is the name they chose for their forthcoming baby girl), cities in which to live, labelling in the queer community, their house remodel. Our meals were delicious: To start, Patrick had a bean soup and I had a small hearts of romaine, and Julianne and Danae shared a salad. Entrees: Patrick had salmon, I had the risotto, Julianne and Danae shared the vegetarian version of the risotto. Desserts: banana bread pudding and something with fruit—a berry cobbler? After that, we all used Brian and Kelly's bathroom since the line for the bathroom at Home Restaurant was 10 people long (and only 2 single-use bathrooms). Brian and Kelly had Chinese food, and after they took us to meet their friend Mark in the panhandle.
Bagels at home for breakfast. I cut my hair. Coffee from the coffee place next to Castro Theatre. Saw Pepe le Moko at Castro Theatre. Castro Tarts. Late lunch at Le Cabrillito at 18th and Noe. The food seems better than Rosie's Cantina, which stood in its place only a few months ago. And we both agreed it could possibly now be the best Mexican food in the Castro. Walgreens. Napped. Late dinner at home: leftovers from Khun Phoa.
Met with Susie about the Web. Spent most of today at the library making the CD-ROM of software for new students entering next month. The big news at the Web workers meeting today was that Jill Garland is leaving her position with the School of Medicine to work on UC Berkeley's Library Web site. Congratulations, Jill! Dinner at home with Patrick: fried salmon with roasted vegetable ravioli in a cream cheese sauce. Worked on emergency cards to store in my wallet. Patrick met with Jason today to review a story Jason wrote. He says he is seeing improvement in Jason's work that seems promising. Today was also the first day of classes for Patrick. He's taking Chinese and fencing. Today was his Chinese class. He reported that he was one of two white people in the class; the rest were Asian. He also heard some of the students speaking Chinese before the class started, and they remained despite the instructor's efforts to weed out those whose knowledge of Chinese clearly exceeded the requirements of the class. His instructor is the same instructor Sam had for first-year Chinese. Patrick said of her, "I've never seen someone wear so many shades of pink and purple before." Today he learned how to say "I'm here" in Chinese as part of the roll-taking process.
Patrick's first day in fencing class. Melissa Chan's last day in our office. She brought bagels and beverages in the morning and wrote us all a goodbye card. Around noon James got a Just Desserts cake and Breyers French vanilla ice cream to celebrate Melissa's new job at a high school in the Mission. He also got her a silver business card case from Tiffany's—very sweet. Continued building the software CD-ROM for entering students.
Team meeting. Met with Susie Levings, Georgia Hansen, and Cassandra Clark to discuss changes to the development site for Contracts and Grants. Continued building the software CD-ROM for entering students and the accompanying tabloid-sized chart that describes what each piece of software does, how you get support for each one, etc.; it's now ready for review by Chris and Rodney. Installed the free version of PopUp Stopper by Panicware for most of the office staff. It seems to work very well, and it makes Web browsing a lot less annoying for us all. Dinner at home with Patrick: pasta al fuzio, with mocha mochi ice cream for dessert.
Worked on emergency contact info cards for the office. Worked on the mail server which was a great deal of work and took most of the day. Aaron stopped by for a visit—his last for a while since he's leaving soon to get a PhD in New York. He and Patrick drank wine and talked. Dinner with Amy and David at La Note in Berkeley. We enjoyed our dinner very much because we hadn't seen Amy and David in months. Amy talked about her vacation to New York and Cape Cod. David talked about news with his job—he's working on butynol now. They both talked about CarShare, with which they recently had a great experience. We talked about our vacation and Georges and Norita's vacation and Patrick's first novel. Patrick and I both had chicken with basil tomatoes over saffron rice. Amy had the bouillabaise. David had a chicken sandwich, but they had a 6-letter French name for it instead of "sandwich" which I did not recognize. All the food was delicious and the servings are on the large side, but after getting home Patrick and I decided it was significantly overpriced. And Patrick added, "Especially for Berkeley!" The chicken dish Patrick and I had was US$17.95. I believe Amy's dish was $18.95. David's was $10.95. Amy and Patrick each had a glass of the house wine. For dessert: Amy had the chocolate something. David had the lemon sorbet. Patrick and I shared the chocolate something. Our bill came to about $112 before tip. If we ever go back, we'll remember to split a single dish between us—it would have been better that way. The tables were almost too small to be comfortable, but we appreciated the small candles floating in a small jar of drowned orchid-like flowers. Service was slow, but since we had a lot of catching up to do it was more bearable than normal. Our server was eating dinner at a nearby table at 10:00 PM, ignoring us as we looked over to have her pick up our check. Patrick and I took MUNI and BART to Berkeley because Patrick was worried about traffic on the way over. However, long before getting home close to midnight, we'd realized what a mistake that had been. We'd ended up spending 3 hours getting to and from Berkeley on transit, and we should have driven instead.
Cindy took the office staff up to the 9th floor of Medical Sciences to see some office space that we might be able to move into next year. It looked very cramped because there were people still in there and they had tons and tons of filing cabinets stacked against the wall. We all came away feeling that what we saw was much, much worse than what we have now. Cindy thinks we're getting no more than say 10% more space, but if we move, we'll get new furniture and I think that will make a big difference. Once Cindy gets me measurements, I'm gonna map the space out in Illustrator to see how we can work it. Replaced a keyboard for Ena. Installed Real One Player and PharmAdMIT 4.0 for Ena. Couldn't move Chris's computer to his new office because the painters had only begun painting today, Deborah Petrie told me. Made changes to the application download page to clarify that our form is not an electronic fill-in form—applicants must print out the forms and fill them in by hand. Made a lot of progress on the mail server: finished installing qmail, daemontools, fastforward, dot-forward, and Courier IMAP. It still amazes me that Linux advocates even believe Linux is going anywhere after today's activities. You can find forums where people say qmail is very easy to install, but then you go to install it and it's really several hundred steps and you're following about 12 different people's installation instructions because none of them explain every detail clearly—even the qmail author's—and you begin to wonder how old (and out-of-date) some of them are. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover chicken from La Note with fried okra and rosemary bread. I took a nap at 8:30 PM because we were planning to go to Glenn's birthday party at End Up. Patrick said, "No, I'll stay up—I can't nap." Within about 15 minutes, he was in bed beside me, and in my going-to-sleepness I mumbled, "set the alarm." We both knew we had to get up at 9:30 PM to make it to the party. I woke up at 11:00 PM and Patrick was sound asleep. This procedure of taking a nap with the intention of going out later has deceived us many times, but it's never pleasant to be falling asleep at a party, as has happened to me on many occasions. Unable to go back to bed, I stayed up until about 4:00 AM catching up on e-mail and reading things on the Web.
Breakfast at home with Patrick: oatmeal. Grocery shopping at Albertson's. Lunch at home with Patrick: caesar salad kit, leftover pasta with red sauce, rosemary bread. Birthday party for Nat at Robbie's place in San Jose. We met Nat, Robbie, Bill and Kevin, Ryan, Drew and Ryan, Shu Hei, Jonathan, Simon, Ivan, Mark, and Nicole. Jonathan had formerly been a caterer and made an impressive spread of several salads; barbecued chicken, shrimp, and vegetable skewers; a cheese and pate plate; fresh fruit; and a giant chocolate cake. This was the first time that Patrick and I met Nat in person. We'd gotten acquainted over the Internet but never got around to meeting until now. Then we drove back to San Francisco for Aaron's farewell party. There were too many people to list, and we didn't know most of them. (Even Aaron frequently turned his head and said, "Who's that person?!") When we arrived, Aaron said to Patrick, "There's only one Asian guy, and he's in the next room." The "Asian guy" turned out to be a pharmacist named Tristan who we ended up meeting and got his number. Tristan happens to be a good friend of writer Noel Alumit (author of Letters to Montgomery Clift) as well as playwright Prince Gomolvilas. Amy and David were there, having spent the afternoon downtown at the library for the Borges exhibit. There were 3 cakes. One was an ice cream cake with a combination of Phish food and some other Ben and Jerry's flavor. Another cake was the one that Tara brought, but I didn't get to try it. Patrick described it as "eclectic." The last cake got the most attention. It was chocolate with white frosting, and decorated with a drawing of Aaron's face. Jamie had given the cake decorater a photograph from which to work, and the resemblance to the real Aaron was almost scary. The cake was cut, and people took bites of Aaron's ears, lips, and eyes. On it were words piped in frosting that said something like, "I'm headed to New York so just eat me!" We also saw Hilary, Pauline, Nicole, Daphne, Elizabeth and Alex, Kai, Joseph, and, of course, Jamie.
Patrick dreamt last night that we were hanging out with Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. It was a soundstage and they were filming something for a television audience. His face was turning different colors: red, blue, purple. Then he was okay and he sang "Home and Dry." That's all he remembers. Breakfast at home with Patrick: southern pecan pancakes. Cleaned the bathroom. Took trash and recycling out. Caught up on journaling. Correlated then shredded credit card purchase receipts. Put away washed clothes that Patrick had folded. Late lunch at home with Patrick: macaroni and cheese, corn and lima bean duo, Geneva cookies by Pepperidge Farm. Took a nap.
Worked on the mail server. Set up Melissa's old computer for Mike Lemont to use at home. Made changes to the PharmD/MPH page for Chris. Lunch at Nan King Road Bistro: number 8: shrimp and scallops with vegetables and steamed rice, hot and sour soup. Dinner at home with Patrick and Sam: yellow curry shrimp, thai iced tea. Paid bills. Shopped for soap on the Web. Patrick was disappointed to learn that Pre de Provence really has chemicals in it. Watched Twister on DVD with Patrick.
Left for work today at 8:05 AM. The 8:08 AM bus never showed up. Then the 8:30 AM bus didn't show up. At about 8:42 AM the 8:50 AM bus appeared, and I was able to get my ass off of the cold sidewalk corner where I had been sitting and reading Fixer Chao by Han Ong. While I waited and read, I met Sharon, another employee of UCSF who said she worked in the Ambulatory Care Center in Epilepsy. She was the one I saw a few months ago on her cellphone one other time the 66 bus didn't show up. She explained that she has complained so often that she has about 30 apology letters from MUNI. After we got on the bus, two other women told us they had been waiting since 7:45 AM for a bus. Met with Marie Parfitt Patty, who is the Director of Development for the School of Pharmacy. She needed an outline of how to hire Web people for a project they plan to undertake for the Center for Consumer Self Care. We talked for about an hour, and I mapped out a site-level picture as well as a page-level picture for her.—Today at work it's staff appreciation day. This time it's lunch at LuLu and bowling at a place near the Sony Metreon. In attendance: Cindy, Ena, Debrah, Joel, Kristina, James, and me. Lunch: the table shared a plate of antipasti which consisted of (a) olives with garlic, rosemary, and lemon, (b) roasted beets with walnuts and ricotta salata, (c) melon and prosciutto with cherry balsamic vinegar ($13.50). Ena had wood oven roasted whole portobello mushrooms with soft polenta and mascarpone ($9.75). I had the summer vegetable soup (carrots, peas, lima beans, onion, cherry tomatoes, basil) with parmesan and basil chiffonade ($7.25). Kristina had the roasted portobello sandwich with aioli, roasted peppers, mozzarella, and arugula on levain ($8.25). She also ordered a side of spinach, which was cooked with garlic, olive oil, and lemon ($4.25). Cindy had the heirloom tomato BLT with apple wood-smoked bacon, arugula, and aioli on levain ($8.50). James and Joel each ordered the fennel-scented pork loin with olive oil mashed potatoes ($15.95). Debrah had the platter of seasonal vegetables ($14.95). I had the grilled salmon sandwich with chopped egg, capers, and watercress on ciabatta ($8.95). For dessert, Joel and Debrah both had the peach tarte tatin with peach ice cream ($8.00). James had the trio of strawberry, nectarine, and blueberry sorbets ($7.25). I had the profiteroles with almond-espresso ice cream and warm Valrhona chocolate sauce ($8.00). [Did someone order the fritto misto of artichokes, fennel, and lemon with aioli and parmesan ($11.95)? I have an X by it on the menu, but I don't remember if someone ordered it.] Dinner at home with Patrick: summer garden rigatoni. Called Glenn Cochran and talked for 2 hours. We hadn't talked in a long time and so we caught up on each other's lives and talked about all kinds of stuff: Malibu Grand Prix, The Club in Fort Lauderdale, California Adventure at Disneyland, Kevin Kahl's new home.
Moved Chris's computer from our office to a nearby office. Set up the office computer he brought from home in our office. Sent e-mail to the developer of PharmAdMIT regarding problems with printing and Office XP and a separate problem regarding space characters in the installation location path. Set up a monitor and old SCSI Zip drive to be sent to surplus. Set up Chris's two computers to share a single folder on the server for all his documents. Accidentally broke one computer's network connection while editing the registry to resolve problems with a DLL that Windows was trying to load but shouldn't have loaded. Troubleshot a bad tape problem—ended up needing to trash the tape because the tape backup unit wouldn't read it anymore. Helped Joel resolve Meeting Maker and Palm syncing problems. Well, sort of. We ended up proving that sometimes it would properly synchronize banners and sometimes it wouldn't. We'd get an error known as "cannot translate HH record" and only a few web pages explained what this error meant. Meeting Maker's web site said, "This error is due to a record on the Palm that cannot be translated to meetingmaker. If the error happens while the datebook is syncing, it will most likely point to an event in the Palm datebook that does not have a start time or end time associated with it. If the error happens in the address book, it will most likely be an entry in the address book that uses non-standard characters. The other cause for this error is if there is some corruption in the user's data on the server. To repair the corruption, the meetingmaker admin must stop the server and use the MMRx utility to clean and repair the database." After trying many, many combinations and seeing inconsistent synchronization behaviors, Joel decided to get rid of the Palm Pilot because duplicate records made him crazy and not knowing whether a calendar item got synched also made him crazy. In other words, it didn't work like it was supposed to, and for that I don't blame him one bit. Who does Palm think he is? A soccer mom? Worked through lunch: leftovers from last night. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers. Patrick and I watched the extras from the Twister DVD. Fun to watch many of the scenes in slow motion or frame-by-frame. "The Making of Twister" and "Anatomy of a Twister" were not bad, just occasionally embarrassing, such as Jami Gertz, hands in the air, saying, "It's man versus nature!" Brian Kusler called at 10 PM and said (paraphrasing), "We're eating brownies and watching The Simpsons and it would be great if you were here. And Makiko is here, Brian and Eric are here, Jesse is here, Nina is here, and we didn't plan this at all but I thought you might want to know. Oh, and did I tell you we're eating brownies?" Patrick has his first quiz for Chinese class tomorrow, and I'm already yawning, so we can't go tho we appreciate the invitation. I started reading The Page Turner by David Leavitt today, and I like it. It's almost the opposite of Han Ong—less description, more dialogue and plot.
Made a master of the software cdrom I've been working on. Followed up with Melissa Gabrieli at MDL regarding our distribution license for Chime and ISIS/Draw. Responded to Valerie Starling about inventory issues. Put new news on the home page for Susie, sent it to her for review, then made it live after she okayed it. Lunch at desk: garden burger, pickle, curly fries from the cafeteria: $4.75. Patrick moved the car from one side of the street to the other coz it's street cleaning tomorrow. His first drive alone in the Deliverator. Spoke with Wes at Olde West to set up our cdrom duplication. Mucked about with the Belkin OmniView Adapter, which was giving me grief—made the mouse too jittery, tho I could've sworn it worked fine in the past. I decided after much troubleshooting that it was probably a mouse other than the Microsoft Trackball Optical that it worked with. When I switch to an older PS/2 mouse, the problem goes away. Still, there's nothing on Belkin's Web site that says it's incompatible with Microsoft Trackball Optical. I never thought very highly of Belkin's technical support. And their Web site is awful, too. Sometimes I wonder why I keep buying their products. Dinner at home with Patrick: couscous with asparagus, tomatoes, pine nuts, and parmesan. Patrick set up the bread maker to make bread in the morning.
We ate fresh bread all day long today. Made lots of Web changes for James and Joel. Worked on a data processing questionnaire for Cindy. Patrick got 95% correct on his first quiz for Chinese class. Hung out with Brian and Kelly. Met Makiko (again) but got to hang out with her this time. We learned she's a graphic designer, been living in New York City for (I think) 6 years. Brian, Adrian, and Nico also stopped by. Jesse got home from work, and we learned through the evening that his last name is Lee. We watched very old Saturday Night Live. Brian wanted to find the Janet Reno Dance Party, but it turned out to not be on the tape like he hoped. We watched the Ambiguously Gay Duo, Coffee Hour, Pat, and more SNL. We watched an Iron Chef France episode with salmon as the theme ingredient. Everyone laughed when someone suggested a white trash Iron Chef episode. Brian suggested the theme ingredient would be Spam. We watched The Simpsons episode where a comet is going to hit Springfield. We saw on the news that the toll for the Golden Gate Bridge has changed from $3.00 to $5.00. Adrian had just gotten a new Mini: white, chrome, and chili red on the outside; grey, chrome, and black on the inside. It's a cute little thing. As we said goodbye to all, Patrick got his ass squeezed by someone, but by whom I'm not saying. Whoever it was probably doesn't remember it happening, anyway. (Patrick didn't until he read this journal entry the next morning.)
Woke up late. Oatmeal for breakfast. Organized kitchen cabinets and hall closets. Identified things of which we need to get rid. Filled in some journal entries from the recent vacation. Dusted and vacuumed. Framed a new photo of Patrick and Tina, put it by my desk. Dinner at home with Patrick: breaded scallops, baked potato, spinach. Sam came over and we all tried going to N'Touch but we couldn't find a place to park and we didn't want to pay the Holiday Inn $9 per hour for parking so we drove to the Castro and found street parking very easily and went to Badlands, to which I had never been before. It was fun—we drank not very heavily and danced. Patrick had predicted they would play Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" since we'd heard it everywhere we went on vacation, and they did. It was practically all divas: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Deborah Cox, and the mixing was cringeworthy every time. Afterwards we had pizza slices at Nizario's. Patrick learned that the old Detour space had been bought by the people who own Badlands. He said, "I'll say this: If Detour turns out like Badlands, it will be very depressing."