December 2002

Summary: Lodestar Quarterly releases its 4th issue; Saw Felice Picano and his Gay Presses of New York exhibit at the Library; Christmas dim sum, ice skating, and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Dates on this page

Sun Dec 1, 2002

Worked on Domenica's Web site. It's nearly all done now! Dinner at home with Patrick: farfalle con funghi e tacchino.

Mon Dec 2, 2002

Spent most of the day working on webdev: instructions for setting up a connection to our development Web server. Lunch at desk, leftovers from last night. Updated the board exam page with new information about a new location for this coming June's exam. Dinner at home with Patrick: island teriyaki roasted chicken, peas with pearl onions, shells and cheddar. Worked on Domenica's Web site.

Tue Dec 3, 2002

Met with Jeff Beck about the Clinical Pharmacy Web site. Worked on a new form for James that enables students to reply to their interview invitation online. Dinner at home with Patrick: crab cakes, risotto, asparagus. Read Flavorpill and Get Your War On. Shopped for all-in-one printers, label printers, and motherboards. Bought nothing. Printed mailing labels for our holiday cards.

Wed Dec 4, 2002

Updated the File Sharing Options page. Worked more on the reply to interview invitation section. Put in the PHP version (rather than the graphic version) of our banner heading in the development site. Propogated and tidied up some styles in the stylesheets. Fixed a few broken links. Worked on the Choosing a Domain Name page. Discovered that pages in the site weren't validating—W3C updated their validator and now it looks like things need fixing. Spent a few hours updating everything for XHTML 1.1. Not all done. Dinner at home with Patrick: garlic and vinegar salmon, green beans, roasted garlic in rice. Patrick rented Powerpuff Girls on DVD which we hadn't seen before. We'd gotten great reviews from Brian and Kelly and Eric and Brian about the incredible animation, so we decided to check it out. Just before the movie, Patrick had a sudden urge to listen to a Led Zeppelin song called "Stairway to Heaven" so we did, and I didn't think the song would ever end. The movie was really amazing. When it finished, I thought, "Let's ride that again!" but it was too late and we were both really tired, so we'll watch it again tomorrow night.

Thu Dec 5, 2002

Staff meeting today. I demonstrated our new presentation pointer which enables our staff to control the presentation without having to stand by the laptop. I figured out why our new mail server's web services weren't being seen. I could do "lynx localhost" and get to the web server, but from any other computer I'd get "host not found." When I installed Red Hat 7.3 on it, I chose to include a high security firewall, not thinking I'd need the web server. However, I later installed the web server and didn't realize why it wasn't working until now. I used lokkit to add access to port 80 and now all is well with that. Lunch with Joel at You See Sushi. Dinner at home with Patrick: orzo with vegetables and a tomato dressing.

Fri Dec 6, 2002

At work today I completed another chunk of the interview reply forms that James requested. Lunch with Joel and Michael at Park Chow. It was Michael's first time. I helped him figure out what he needed to network computers at home. Joel and I had the burger royale with fries but we both got the burger on pizza dough instead of baguette. Delicious! Michael got minestrone-like soup and a salad. Met with Chris Cullander and Kevin Souza about Ilios; Chris wants us to hop on board their project, and that's fine by me. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover orzo and pork chops. Worked on Domenica's site: every page in the site now validates as XHTML 1.1 and looks as perfect as CSS will allow in Mozilla 1.1 and Netscape 7 and IE6! The whole site is entirely free of HTML table tags—it's all CSS divs. My first such site and it was a huge pain in the ass. Don't ever let anyone tell you that CSS gives you complete control over every page element you can imagine. Yeesh! Still must test in older browsers then on all Mac browsers. I'm certain now that the W3C validator was changed recently because it no longer seems to honor the SYSTEM doctype I specify in my sites. Grr! I looked at Tina's site, which had previously validated properly and it too was not validating now, so I fixed it all up. It's a small site, so it took only about half an hour.

Sat Dec 7, 2002

Spent most of the day sleeping and working on Lodestar—a new issue is due in 2 weeks. Dinner at Warakabune with Patrick. We sat down not 2 minutes before Brian and Kelly walked in the door and took the 2 empty seats next to us like we had planned going to dinner all along. It was most fortuitous because we've all been so busy recently that we hadn't hung out in a while. Brian told how it was Jesse's first time to (secret place) today. Kelly: "He said, 'Take me before I lose my nerve.'" We had dinner and caught up. Brian and Kelly have both been working like dogs to get projects finished at Apple and City Carshare. We talked about Powerpuff Girls; the new home of our friends Nico, Adrian, and Little Brian; shopping for sushi boats; pre-threaded microwave popcorn for Christmas trees; how we spent Thanksgiving (they went to visit family in the East Bay and took Jesse with them); how we plan to spend Christmas (they don't know—might fly to Europe or might stay around here). We invited them to crash the party to which we were going, but they both had to code or code in the morning so they regretfully declined. I gave Brian the address in case they finished early or changed their minds. We went to Jamie's party at his place on 14th Street. It was mostly Jamie's friends who we didn't know, but Aaron was there and we had a great time seeing him for the first time since he moved to New York. We also saw Kai, Daphne, Tom and Sue (tho we didn't get to chat), Nicole. We left around midnight and on the way back to the car we said hi to Brian through the window but I suddenly got stomach cramps probably from drinking too cranberry juice so we quickened to the car and drove home. Patrick wrote a bit before we both crashed in bed.

Sun Dec 8, 2002

Oatmeal with pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar and rice milk for breakfast. Finished coding poetry for Lodestar except for Julianne's pieces since they arrived late. Also coded all the fiction. Sent them to Patrick for review. Leftover orzo for lunch. Patrick went to Jumpin Java to work: he completed his outline for his next novel. Dinner with Patrick at Eric's Restaurant: sizzling rice soup, walnut prawns, five taste chicken, chow mein, steamed rice. Worked on so that all pages now validate as XHTML 1.1. Fixed some broken links on all sites. Patrick worked on Lodestar. Signed and stamped holiday greeting cards.

Mon Dec 9, 2002

Today the 8:30 AM bus didn't show up. The bus at 8:50 AM came and this bus driver, as was her norm, wouldn't let people out at 8th and Judah like most drivers do. "Sorry, this is not a stop—I can't let you out here." Indeed it's not a stop, but the street is not a busy one. I always look back for bicyclists when other drivers let us out at this corner, but there's never anything to be worried about—there's not enough room and not enough traffic to warrant concern. She turned the corner and just before the left turn at 9th and Judah, she announces, "I'm letting you all out here since I have to turn right! I know this isn't a stop, but I'm letting you out here." Worked on the interview reply form all day to work in changes from James and code 4 new pages. Worked through lunch at my desk eating leftovers from Eric's Restaurant. Met with Susie. We had a great meeting about the (lack of) direction for the Center for Self Care and about how overwhelmingly overworked we both are. Dinner at Tower Burger with Patrick: he got a cheeseburger and fries. I got fish and chips with a small side of cole slaw. It was our first time at Tower Burger, and in retrospect it was for me a Guinan experience, but I didn't know that until after we left. We ate at Tower Burger because we planned to shop for groceries at nearby Tower Market. Tower Burger has delicious very basic American diner food for average prices, considering it wasn't full table service. We paid US$13.50 for our meal, which included a cup of hot tea and a soda. I described the ambience as creepy and Patrick laughed at that and said, "I think it's nice." Part of it was the decor, part of it was the unusual methods of how the all-Asian employees created rapport with the customers—"Oh! You didn't see I put the hot tea on the counter for you to pick up so I bring it to you—no problem!" I can't really explain it all, but I'll try. The decor was: 20-foot ceilings, tile floor (brown, I think), walls painted pumpkin, laminate tabletops, padded-seat chairs made of metal, booth benches lining one wall, 3 styles of pendant lamps—all modern but very different from each other, and the one sure sign of Asian management: the wall clock made of fake-gold-plated metal and glass (or was it plastic?) shaped in a circle, oval, or in this case, rounded-corner square. The weird part for me was that it was all too tasteful—and clean—for a typical Asian-owned establishment. (Yes, even with that wall clock.) I say this not to be spiteful toward Asians, but out of my own experiences. I've had this same feeling before in just a few other Asian-owned establishments, and I've decided now that this feeling causes within me an urge to discover exactly what happened. I can only surmise that they hired a decorator who finished the start of the project and then they made their own changes at a later time. I wanted to ask: "Why didn't you just get all matching pendants?" or "Why did you think those pendants would go well with that wall sconce?" or "Why is that wall clock in 80% of the Asian-owned restaurants on the west coast?" (Yes, I've been to them all.) In the end, I suppose what bothered me was that they seemed to have chosen some elements for longevity (the tables and chairs) but others for aesthetic beauty (some of the pendant lamps) and when they brought it all together it didn't quite work. Somewhere along the way things went from beautiful to nice just by a few poor design choices—as evidenced by Patrick's observation: "I think it's nice." Like an injustice of interior design. Like Guinan and every fiber of her being. I said it felt creepy to me, and I still stand by that now. We shopped for groceries at Tower Market, but the meat counter had closed so Patrick plans to return tomorrow with Sam to complete our grocery needs. Patrick said he wrote the first paragraph of his next novel today. Worked on Domenica's site. It now validates as XHTML 1.1 and looks perfect or acceptable in MOZ1.1, IE6.0, NS7.0, NS6.2, NS3.04, NS2.02. It looks awful in NS4.08, OP6.05. That's just the Windows side. Must test on Mac, too.

Tue Dec 10, 2002

Interview reply form changes again—they're almost done, but I still need to work like mad on global stylesheets before it all can go live. Worked through lunch at my desk eating leftovers from Eric's Restaurant. Took a hard drive out of an old Dell Optiplex GX Pro so we could surplus the rest of the computer. Installed Adobe InDesign 2.0 for Michael so he could make maps of the interview rooms based on Joel's great PageMaker template. Met Michael's partner Darren who stopped in to pick Michael up after work. Reinstalled the Lexmark Optra Color 45 driver for everyone because it wasn't working properly for a few. Removing and reinstalling fixed the problem—I don't know what's up with dat. Got some stylesheet code fixed up for Netscape 6.x in preparation for resolving the validation problems I discovered last week.

Wed Dec 11, 2002

Spent most of today working on stylesheets. James gave me what I think is the last of his changes for the interview reply project. If I finish my stylesheet updates by Friday we'll make that all live then. Lunch with Mike Lemont. He wanted to take me to lunch to thank me for helping with his computer e-mail setup at home. He used to have Cindy's position in our office and tho he's retired he helps out now and again when needed. We ate at Chow—he wanted to go to Avenue 9 but wasn't aware that they had closed permanently in recent weeks. Lunch was delicious, as always at Chow, and we talked about local politics, dogs, the current admission cycle. Doctor appointment: my knee injury from yoga in March needed a look. X-ray for my knee. Dentist appointment: Alex Kogan's office at the Sunset Premier Dental Group aka, where as I was leaving the receptionist complimented me on my straight teeth but then insulted me by saying how yellow my teeth were and wouldn't I be interested in getting a bleach treatment for US$250? not exactly in those words, however. Just what would Miss Manners say to that, I wonder? Would it have been rude to grimace and say, "Thanks, but your scam won't work on me."? Patrick and I are switching dental plans at the end of this year, and we plan to switch dentists as well. Dinner at home with Patrick: crab cakes, steamed asparagus, Ore Ida Zesties fries with some grated cheese on top. (The Zesties were just-okay-da instead of Ore Ida.) Wrote a second batch of greeting cards and will mail them tomorrow. We ran out of 37-cent snowman stamps. Got a lot of work done on Domenica's site and Lodestar. For Lodestar, I coded 3 poetry pieces that came late, edited Patrick's bio page, fixed up the code for checking for invalid URLs, inserted a 404 page that we never properly had before. For Domenica's site, did some tweaking based on the results of my cross-browser testing. Tina sent me the scan of her blouse I'd been asking for, but I didn't have a chance to work with it just yet. Maybe I'll redo the entire home page, as I'm thinking it's not the way I want it anymore. We have plans to see Felice's exhibit at the SF Library downtown this weekend. Felice himself will be in town to open the exhibit with a personal tour on Saturday as well as a discussion at A Different Light bookstore on Sunday. We're both looking forward to it. Chatted with my brother and sister and (briefly) Jeremy. It's Dexter's birthday, so I called to wish him a happy one. They went to dinner since Dex's original birthday plans fell through. I also called to find out what everyone is doing for the holidays. Dex has to work (only one day off) and Lani's family is travelling south. The bus was awful again today. Just don't ask.

Thu Dec 12, 2002

Chris De Lay sent me a link to Froogle—Google's new shopping tool. Cool! Doctor appointment. Stopped at Walgreen's for office supplies and a knee brace. Did a complete sweep of the School of Pharmacy website making the code work with the new stylesheet I created for IE6. Since IE6 and IE5 are used by the majority of our users and since I need to make James's interview reply forms live tomorrow, I'm going to sweep for IE5.x and then set it all live, sweeping swiftly afterwards for Mac browsers. Homepage validation is fixed, but the rest of the site needs work—e.g., there are plenty of images with border tags still. Dinner at home with Patrick and Sam: farfalle and mushrooms and zucchini and fresh sage with tomato-mushroom chicken sausage, corn on the cob, Italian bread. Worked on Lodestar. Did some validation checks. The author of Linklint sent me a new version—2.3.6.d—in response to my suggestion that Linklint not flag anchor tags with only an id attribute as an error, since the name attribute was dropped in XHTML 1.1. I installed it and it worked just as expected. Thanks, Jim Bowlin!

Fri Dec 13, 2002

Today it rained from before the sun came up to long after the sun went down. Finished stylesheets coding. Interview reply form project goes live. James sends out the first of the interview invitation letters. Lunch in the office: Ena, Kristina, Michael, and I order a deluxe veggie Round Table Pizza, and we eat while watching the storm go by outside. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken boobs with apple stuffing, broccoli with cheese, wild rice, Italian bread. We played Deluxe Scrabble for the first time in many months, and I beat him 289 to 252.

Sat Dec 14, 2002

Still raining today. The storm pulled a huge branch off of the giant (pine?) tree in our back yard. Fortunately, it didn't hit a fence or anything else of value—it just seemed to drop right down filling up half of the yard. I woke early, ate oatmeal, went back to sleep, slept until one while the storm raged. Patrick went to Jumpin Java to work. I picked him up in the car at 2:15 PM and we drove to an event at the SF Library for an event in which our friend Felice Picano gave a tour of the exhibits from Gay Presses of New York—a historical perspective of his role in the early days of gay publishing. The talk is great. Felice's presence is always so warm and fulfilling, and we both enjoy all he has to share. Only about a dozen men showed up—not surprising considering the vicious storm outside. Aside from his featured discussion, he also talked about straight-boy, pants-below-the-ass fashion: "How long can they continue to dress that ugly?" We chatted with him a few minutes after before finding food—Patrick had neglected to eat while at JJ. We were about to eat at the cafe in the library's basement but I had forgotten my money clip and Patrick only had four dollars and they only took cash. Instead, we headed a few blocks away to Chevy's. Patrick had chicken fajitas, I had a chicken quesadilla. Our waitress was mostly neglectful and barely earned the US$0.70 tip we generously gave her. Driving home, we were afraid the power would be out. Many blocks near ours were without power. We got home to find the power had gone out, probably briefly, based on the blinking clocks which weren't off by many minutes. We listened to Groove Salad on Shoutcast and worked. Patrick studied for his final exam in Mandarin and did some writing. I coded and edited the drama piece that shall appear in the forthcoming issue of Lodestar: Half-Light Dances by Brian Thorstenson. It's 89 printed pages and it took about 6 hours for me to both code and edit—about 4 minutes per page—not bad. I still have to break it up into pages, but that's no more than another hour's worth of work which I'll do tomorrow. Patrick went to bed around 10:30 PM. It's close to midnight now, and I shall join him soon. Tomorrow we may do a bit of shopping and then Felice's gathering at A Different Light and then a haircut for me at Nice Cuts. A nice weekend so far, notwithstanding the excitement with the rainstorm.

Sun Dec 15, 2002

Lunch at Escape From New York Pizza: mushroom pizza. Felice's reading. Hair cut for me with Bao at Nice Cuts. Errands at Walgreens. Dinner at home with Patrick: cheese ravioli with red bell pepper sauce. Finished coding drama for Lodestar, worked in some edits that came back from reviews. Jotted down ideas for Domenica's Web site.

Mon Dec 16, 2002

Set up email filters for Michael so that the interview reply responses automatically go into categorized mailboxes. Today I worked on the student database, resolving the non-updateable recordset problems I encountered earlier when I included calculated fields in my main query. I plan to separate the calculated fields into one or more separate queries and then use subforms to pull the data into the main form. Today was the holiday party for the School of Pharmacy. Like last year, it was held at the Faculty House at the corner of 5th and Parnassus. They took the tropical island theme from the Holiday Luncheon a month or two ago and recycled it for the holiday party. That was rather disappointing, but the food made up for it. There was so much of it! Steamed dim sum, a selection of Indian-styled dishes, fresh fruit, cole slaw, large prawn appetizers, Chinese roasted duck in buns, and lots of cookies and chocolates for dessert. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops, new potatoes, mushroom heads in rosemary and chopped garlic. Very tired, I went to bed early while Patrick stayed up to study. His Mandarin final exam is tomorrow. Today he went to Jumpin Java to work but it was too crowded, so he worked at Sweet Inspirations instead.

Tue Dec 17, 2002

Woke up around 2:00 AM—don't know why. Got up (bathroom), went back to bed. Couldn't sleep. Got up, had a snack (Maruchan instant noodles which take 3 minutes), read Wired Magazine online, read some e-mail, sent some e-mail, went back to sleep around 3:00 AM and this time it worked! Sleep... At work I cleaned up some of the text-only templates for our Web site. I installed iCab 2.8.2—a Web browser for the Mac—and was disappointed at how poorly it rendered my XHTML 1.1 and CSS pages. I adjusted our site to serve iCab users the non-CSS version of our pages and things looked considerably better after that. I realized that the agent-detection code which Alex took from SourceForge was not written very efficiently, but I don't have time to rewrite it right now. Today was our holiday luncheon for our Office of Student and Curricular Affairs. We went to One Market Restaurant. Ena couldn't make it because she had to pick up friends or family at the airport. James stayed at work to work. Appetizers: Debrah had carrot soup, Cindy had medallions of monkfish, Joel had a Caesar salad which had a strong anchovy base, Kristina had a mixed greens salad with a pecorino tuile, Michael and I chose to have no appetizer. Entrees: Debrah had ravioli, Cindy had a Caesar salad, Joel had GRILLED HAMBURGER WITH BIG FRIES (Celeriac Salad, Port Dijon, Sweet Onions, Roquefort and Caramel Catsup $13.75), Michael had a duck salad, Kristina had freeform vegetarian circular lasagne, I had a roasted chicken boob baked in a boat dish with macaroni and cheese and breadcrumbs with a side of acorn squash and some mixed green salad. Desserts: Cindy and I each had a chocolate sampler, which included the Chocolate Almond Toffee Crunch Cake (with Sour Cream Fudge Icing, Caramel Ice Cream), a chocolate custard tart, a chocolate mint ice cream sandwich, a tiny scoop of pumpkin ice cream, and a sugary mint leaf. Joel and Kristina each had the ice cream special: homemade pumpkin with a large dollop of whipped cream and pecan and praline sauce. Of his dessert, Joel said, "It made my eyes go like *that* and made my toes curl." Michael had a warm pumpkin cake surrounded by cinnamon apple chunks. Debrah had triple-layer pumpkin cheesecake. The pastry chef was Patti Dellamonica-Bauler. The chef was Adrian Hoffman. The meal was delightful except 2 things: (a) we were about 15 minutes late and the host rudely chided us by saying that our table was given away but they could squeeze us in and they have many afternoon reservations but you can take your time, and (b) Debrah said both her appetizer and entree were lukewarm. She didn't complain until dessert, so I told her next time she should send it back. After lunch, Cindy let us run a few errands, but we all returned to work soon afterwards. Patrick had his final exam in Mandarin today. He thinks he did pretty well. After the exam, the teacher invited him and another white guy and Sam (who was Patrick's ride home and a previous student of the same teacher) to lunch at Lucky Dragon—a nearby Chinese restaurant. We went to dinner at 2223 to celebrate his excellent learning. We had 2 glasses of champagne (US$12.50) and shared a 3-prawn appetizer ($9.50). Patrick had salmon ($16.50), I had chicken ($17.50), we shared a warm-center chocolate cake for dessert ($6.50). Later tonight, Patrick found out by e-mail that he got a 92 out of 100 on the exam.

Wed Dec 18, 2002

Patrick had a nightmare at 2:15 AM. We both woke up and stayed up for a bit before going back to sleep. Woke up late. Got to work just past 11:00 AM. Lunch with Joel at You See Sushi. I taught him what "w00t!" meant. He taught me what "poppin' collar" meant. Made a tweak to the interview reply form: the e-mail address field was only 25 characters which was too small for one of the 30 replies that came in, so I opened that up to 50 chars. Made edits to the new Medicine Question of the Month and sent them to Candy for review. Made changes to the Continuing Education page for Susie and sent them to her for review. Sam treated me and Patrick to dinner at Tokyo Teriyaki since it was his last night in San Francisco before going to New Orleans for the holidays. Patrick and I had California roll, New York roll, Spider roll, eel with avocado and string bean roll. Sam had teriyaki chicken and a sushi assortment. We gave him a box of See's candies to give to his mom, who likes See's very much. After dinner, we went to a concert or recital for Sam's composition class at City College. There were about 20 pieces with varying instruments: piano, flute, alto flute, guitar, violin. Sam had 2 pieces: one of several variations of "Away in the Manger" and a Piano Trio with a drum beat on tape and Patrick singing vocals in Chinese. It was great to hear his work, and I was impressed with his creations. The music in Piano Trio felt much more emotional and evocative than the other works, tho I liked the first violin piece. We went home, tired from the day, and I baked pumpkin bread from semi-scratch for the office potluck tomorrow. I used the mini springform pans and the small copper-colored star and bell molds that Tina and Daniel had given us in the past. The bread turned out delightfully, and I saved one small loaf for Patrick and I to enjoy at home. Worked in Brian T's change requests for Half-Light Dances. Not too much trouble. Tina responded to my query of "What would you do with 5 pounds of persimmons?" and sent me scans of her persimmon watercolors—yummy! Got to bed late, around 12:30 AM. Chatted with Chris De Lay in Hawaii just before bed. Tina responded to my e-mail query today. I asked her, "What would you do with 5 pounds of persimmons?" She said: "Mmmm. Did I send you my persimmon watercolors? They have a special place in my heart. There is a wonderful persimmon cake recipe I will try and find for you. Also, steamed persimmon pudding. Are they the Hiychia variety or the Fuyu? Fuyus are round like pumpkins and Hiychias are elongated like an egg. Yes, you can wait until they are very ripe, and scoop out the flesh and store in freezer bags. Then, you can bake with it later. The Fuyus you can eat raw. The H, you can eat raw as well, but the enzyme it contains will give you the gnarliest hairy tongue feeling... so I do not recommend it. You can cook it into a nice compote with some fresh cinnamon sticks and brown sugar. Add some dried fruits and serve it over vanilla bean rice-dream, or with toast. You can serve it with a lamb roast. I LOVE them! Mmmmmmm.... xoxox T."

Thu Dec 19, 2002

Worked on Cindy's changes for the graduation section. Today we had a potluck and the holiday gift exchange. I got elegant glass oil candles which Cindy brought. Michael got a handheld sewing machine which Ena brought. James got a set of 4 colorful votive holders which ? brought. Ena got a talking Santa head which Kristina brought. Joel got a Christmas picture frame and a set of salt and pepper shakers which I brought. Cindy got a set of glass and iron candle holders (candles not included) which ? brought. Debrah got an Ikea change-the-nature-pictures lamp which ? brought. Kristina got a gift card for Blockbuster video which ? brought. Additionally, Cindy and James handed out holiday bonuses—gift certificates to Macy's and Williams-Sonoma. And Cindy also gave out holiday cards with more bonuses inside. After work, Patrick and I ate at the new BurgerMeister next to Safeway and church. The fries were really good but the entire experience was just okay. My chicken burger was tough in the center, and someone left the back door open wide so that the cold wind from outside came right in. We kept our jackets on the whole time we were there.

Fri Dec 20, 2002

Worked at home today on Cindy's changes for the graduation section. Lunch at River Side Seafood Restaurant: won ton soup ($5.95)—not bad. Dinner at home with Patrick: basil apple sausage with penne in tomato sauce. Lodestar Quarterly Issue 4 goes live. Watched Lilo and Stitch on DVD. When it finished, Patrick said, "That wasn't as good as I thought it would be." I said, "Formulaic." But what I thought was most annoying was that when we first put the DVD in we by default were shown what must have been over 10 minutes of previews for forthcoming Disney DVD titles. By the time we'd watched the first 5 previews, I said aloud, "Start the fucking show already" and skipped to the main menu and selected Play. Thanks, Disney, for putting me in a bad mood just before watching your work of art. I'll never buy a Disney DVD, just based on this one frustrating experience. Tina responded to my question "If we have a pumpkin from Halloween that looks okay on the outside, it is still good for cooking now in December?" She said, "Hi! Pumpkin... if you have not cut it open (exposed the inside to O2), then it's fine to eat. You just cut it open and have it (or wedges are fine and easy to remove the meat from), and roast it in the oven. I use a little butter or oil (veg, not olive). Once cool, you scoop out the flesh, puree it and you have fresh pumpkin puree. MMmmmm. I want some. XOXOX T."

Sat Dec 21, 2002

Basic 4 and oatmeal for breakfast. We wrap a gift for Patrick's mom. Patrick goes to the Castro to work at Jumpin Java. I mail the package then stay home to work on Lodestar tweaks and Domenica's Web site. Hung out with Brian and Kelly and Jesse. We caught Jesse just before he leaves for Michigan tomorrow to visit his family. Brian talked about the sales downtown he discovered: 30% off everything at French Connection, half off jeans at Levi's. He told Patrick that he saw a pair of jeans that would look good on him, one with small pockets on the front, and Patrick said, "You mean these?" Patrick stands up and the jeans he's wearing are exactly the ones Brian was thinking. Brian also suggested a brown corduroy jacket for Patrick which, turns out, Patrick wasn't already wearing and didn't have at home either. We gave the 3 of them a package of Ho Ho Ho's and Jesse smeared one of them into Brian's face while feeding it to him. Dinner at Four Season Restaurant (415-861-2682, 708-14th St) with Patrick: hot and sour soup, sizzling rice soup, sesame chicken, walnut prawns. Very good Chinese food in the Church Street neighborhood. The sesame chicken was particularly good—crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside. They also have a sesame beef version if you like eating cow. We wouldn't've known about the place if we hadn't asked Brian and Kelly, "Are there any secret restaurant finds nearby that we don't yet know about?" The food we had was very good—don't let the lack of an 's' at the end of the restaurant's name fool you. (Note: Brian warned us to stay away from the appetizers, so we did.) Looked for the first Lord of the Rings film on DVD but couldn't find it anywhere. Instead we rented Jackie Brown on DVD and went home and watched it. Patrick had seen it before, but I hadn't, and I was very impressed with the well-written dialogue and fantastic acting, especially Samuel Jackson. The film was a pleasure to watch, despite the violent situations it depicts.

Sun Dec 22, 2002

Talked with Tina for nearly an hour. She told me about a psychic reading she did recently. She thought I was gonna roll my eyes at what she learned, as I am frequently doubtful of mystic -ologies that Tina enjoys from time to time such as numerology and astrology. However, her story seemed to indicate that her psychic reader did indeed have knowledge about Tina that she could not possibly have known. She also made one prediction that came true regarding Tina's sister, Sisi. Tina will soon have a new home on Ohio Street in North Park. Breakfast with Brian and Kelly at Baghdad Cafe. We tried going to Tangerine at 16th and Sanchez. Tangerine (415-626-1700, 3499-16th St) is new and none of us had been yet, but they didn't have a great selection of breakfast food, and we were in the mood for breakfast. Afterwards, we made a pit stop at their place then went downtown shopping. We stopped in to the Container Store—so gay—and I pictured Joel wandering the aisles in a wide-eyed daze, his arms just a blur from grabbing hundreds of "must have" items and sticking them in a shopping cart as he zoomed through the store. We saw so many gay men milling the aisles it felt like a brightly lit sex club. Patrick didn't like the store at all, and I'm not sure why, but he seemed to feel sick and wanting to leave only a few minutes after we arrived. I myself thought it was just okay. Some of the items were clearly items no one in the world needed, such as the transparent plastic box that perfectly holds a box of baking soda. It came with two lids: one holey and one not holey. When you think you need a container for something that already has a container, you need therapy—not a container. The plastic box that holds the facial tissue box is another great example. Other items were best only for very particular people, such as the plastic box with dividers sized to perfectly hold your tea bags—as long as they are *exactly* the dimensions of Bigelow tea bags (as shown in the demo model). We have a very diverse tea bag collection, and I knew this plastic box was not an ideal solution for us. I didn't think of this until later, but I wish I had asked one of the salespeople, "Excuse me, but I was wondering if you have a container for the baking soda container over there. See, I already have the baking soda container, but things go in and out of the refrigerator and freezer and the baking soda container frequently falls over—I need a... I don't know, maybe a *rack* or a *holder* for it. Does Rubbermaid have a freezer storage system that takes care of my ice tray, baking soda box, and vodka bottles? Do you have anything like that?" Another idea that Patrick and I came up with after we got home was to dress up as (or send in) a leather daddy and his boy and ask a salesperson if they have a storage solution for their dildo collection. The requirements are more stringent than you'd expect. For example, you can't use those clear plastic boxes that are commonly used for sports memorabilia—when you have lubed up fingers you don't want to be dealing with a tight-fitting box lid. Same thing with enclosed solutions like drawer or closet "systems." Timing is key to a good scene. The best Patrick and I could imagine was a peg board with various sizes of clips—or maybe small shelves—to hold the dildos: readily accessible, easily customizable and configurable, enables others to view the diversity of your collection easily. There were so many gay men in the store, I was surprised there wasn't a demonstration dungeon (like the demo living room at Ikea) showing 3 different ways you can store a dildo collection and all your other dungeon toys. Another idea: the dildos hang from a ceiling rack, like a pot rack over a kitchen island, and you use velcro on the bases of the dildos to attach them. A sizeable collection would look quite foreboding and portentous from underneath. We split from Brian and Kelly in the store to go our own way of shopping—they wanted to go to MOMA Store; Patrick and I needed to go to different places, and it's hard for 4 people to keep together in even the same store at this time of year. Downtown there were plenty of people shopping, so many that we avoided certain streets because there were just too many people on the sidewalk. Patrick and I shopped at French Connection, Urban Outfitters, and FAO Schwartz. Bought 2 pieces of clothing at FC—one for each of us. Everything was 30% off! Patrick got the brown corduroy short-waisted jeans-style jacket that Brian had told us about yesterday. Brian was right—it did look good on Patrick. Patrick also picked out for me a blue sweat jacket with gray and white striping along the arms. "You can wear it to clubs for dancing!" I rolled my eyes, but we got it anyway. We decided to shop for others after Christmas since prices would (hopefully) be better and since we weren't going to see them until after anyhow. Ran in to Mike Webb and his companion Dawn on MUNI while riding back to Church Street where we had parked, chatted with them for the ride. Got a snack at Chow (415-552-2469, 215 Church Street): Patrick and I split a meatball sandwich with fries, root beer float, and orange pekoe iced tea (US$13.46 after tax but before tip). Delicious, reliable as usual, usually very efficient staff. Our server was Krista. Dropped off Jackie Brown at Superstar Video. Shopped for shoes for Patrick at Rolo and other nearby stores, but he couldn't find anything he liked. Came home, Patrick mixed music and I caught up on e-mail and wrote in my journal. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover Chinese food from last night. Laughed at—weird, funny collections of images such as obscene interiors, pink triangles at Disney World, and stuff sold on eBay.

Mon Dec 23, 2002

Worked. Left around 4:00 PM. Patrick had done Christmas shopping. Late dinner at home with Patrick: pan-fried salmon, lemon spinach couscous, and peas. Watched South Park.

Tue Dec 24, 2002

Pancakes at home for breakfast with Patrick. Shopping: Best in Show pet store, Auto Erotica, Max Muscle. Nachos at that taco place (Fresca?) next to A Different Light bookstore. Dinner at Cote Sud (415-255-6565, 4238-18th St) with Patrick: a four-course meal: consomme, red bell peppers with cheese and olives, quail stuffed with a mushroom risotto, filet of cod with tapenade and mashed potatoes, mousse au chocolat, slice of chocolate cake yule log. This special Christmas Eve dinner was US$50 each, no drinks included. Patrick says, "a rather ordinary menu for too high of a price, the quality itself, French Provincial, it lacks the charm of Marseilles and much of that food. I enjoyed myself, but the dishes were half-ass. And they said it was a four-course meal, but that consomme wasn't a course." I agree. I couldn't even touch the consomme after a small sip—it was too rich and salty for me and tasted of some animal that doesn't agree with my stomach or nose. The red bell peppers course was uninspired—who can't slice some peppers, fry them in oil, put a slice of rich cheese on top, and garnish with a single sliced olive? The cod was prepared adequately, but not so well that it was worthy of comment. My mousse was fresh out of the refrigerator. Our waiter's attention was distracted by customers at many other tables. I felt cheated out of my money after dining here. After dinner we walked a few blocks to see the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus at the Castro Theatre. They sold out 3 shows tonight—a one-night-only performance with several guest performers. The show was fun, but disappointing for a variety of reasons. The acoustics of the Castro Theatre were bad for a chorus. Speakers helped somewhat, but the voices still sounded duller than they should have—frustrating. Another reason was that all the chorus members could not fit on the stage—there were too many of them, or the stage was too small. Another reason was that the guest performers mostly just sang their own songs—they didn't usually interact with the chorus. Patrick particularly didn't enjoy the auction part in which they invited people to bid for the opportunity to direct the chorus for a song and the proceeds of their bid would go to an organization of their choice. I couldn't help comparing them to the Seattle Men's Chorus whose performances I recall having a great deal more poise than the one I saw tonight.

Wed Dec 25, 2002

Oatmeal and cereal for breakfast at home with Patrick. Dim Sum at Harbor Village (415-781-8833, Four Embarcadero Center). Embarcadero Ice skating. I napped while Patrick did laundry. Skipped dinner because we were still full of dim sum. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. We chatted about the film while I ate leftover dim sum for a midnight snack before bed. The film is visually impressive and was entertaining. I had to set aside multiple disbeliefs. The main characters could go on hundred-mile hikes with no shoes and not complain about their feet. They could fight against-all-odds battles with swords and arrows on an occasional diet of old bread and no water. They could take unexpected dips into swamps and rivers, then change into a fresh set of clothes that you didn't see someone else was carrying. One character could shoot hundreds of arrows, but he always had 12 arrows in his quiver—he never ever ran out but you also never ever saw him making or buying new arrows. Christmas gifts: Sam and his mom Dianne gave us a pound of P.J.'s Viennese blend coffee, a coffee grinder, a book about chocolate called Chocolate by Christine McFadden and Christine France, a Fossil watch with Chinese symbols on the face indicating the hours, and a Burt's Bees gift sampler. We gave Sam chocolates and a pair of workout pants and bumblebee soap from L'Occitane. We gave Brian and Kelly a set of travel postcards. We gave Amy and David a set of Phaidon postcards and for their kitty cat George, a pack of dried herring.

Thu Dec 26, 2002

Worked from home. Fixed a few broken links. Installed Linklint 2.3.6d and migrated my small modifications from my customized 2.3.4 version which adds our site's formatting styles and XHTML 1.1 compliance. Updated the current students calendar. Converted Debrah's class schedules to PDF from InDesign, uploaded the PDF files, updated the corresponding HTML pages to reflect the new content. Made tweaks to resolve some minor validation problems. Put in Kristina's change requests for the Pharm Sci pathway section and sent them out for review. Rewrote agent.php, the browser detection script. The original script was taken from SourceForge but it was rather inelegant, so I rewrote nearly all of it so that it requires only a single function rather than the 6 or more functions required before. Dinner at home with Patrick: Patrick calls it "vegetarian pasta with bacon." Watched a marathon of South Park and Simpsons episodes. Patrick finished his new breaks mix, which he calls "4 Mah People."

Fri Dec 27, 2002

Breakfast with Patrick and Sam at Squat and Gobble in West Portal, exchanged gifts. Worked from home. Installed the new agent.php and swept the site cleaning up some references to the old code. Updated physical address zip codes which were incorrect. Added "USA" to all published addresses. Performed maintenance updates on the laptop. Tested VPN from Windows 2000. Made a lot of little site fixes: put in text only pages for older browsers and our homepage2 template, modified the stylesheet code so that unknown platforms and browsers get the most W3C-compliant stylesheet, fixed some link colors on homepage2 templates. A synccheck late today shows 114 files to be synched, but I need to filter out Debrah's and Kristina's and Cindy's change requests which haven't been approved for live yet. Grocery shopping at Safeway on Taraval. Frozen pizza for dinner at home with Patrick. After dinner I decide it's too risky to do a complete sync, so I'll wait for Cindy and Debrah to green-light their changes—Kristina's are successfully blocked. Watched episode 102 of Six Feet Under.

Sat Dec 28, 2002

Mini pizzas for breakfast. Patrick did sword practice and went to the gym with Sam. I did chores at home. It rained a lot today, and strong winds, too. Dinner at home with Patrick: french fries and homemade popcorn shrimp.

Sun Dec 29, 2002

Slept in. Shopping at Stonestown Mall. Used up gift certificates at Borders (Alexandria by Nick Bantock and a calendar called Tao, which has photographs with selections from the Tao Te Ching), Williams-Sonoma (The Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells), and Macy's (socks and t-shirts). Dinner at Jitra with Patrick. Shopped for toiletries and 75% off Christmas cards and wrapping paper at Walgreen's. Shopped online for a waterproof mailbox. Watched Baraka on DVD.

Mon Dec 30, 2002

Ants were all over the office probably because of the rain and because the popcorn tin was left out (still with the lid on, but those ants can find anything tasty even in closed containers). Set Debrah up with my modified schedule originals. Installed Liam Quinn's html validator but couldn't get it to recognize URIs. I don't have full admin control over our development server, so I asked Julie if she'd be interested in installing the required Perl modules.

Tue Dec 31, 2002

Brunch at home with Patrick: broccoli omelettes, bacon, toast. Did the dishes. Watched Star Trek Nemesis with Patrick and Sam at Century 20 in Daly City. The film was okay. "Not a great film, but entertaining," said Patrick. Spoilers follow—don't wanna see'em? Skip to next year. I was laughing quietly at many parts of the film—the typical plot developments ("Captain, I am detecting something unusual on the radar...") and the ideas stolen from other films (Picard in handcuffs with Chewbacca—I mean Data—behind him pretending to be his captor while they sneak through enemy territory) as well as other Star Trek episodes (Picard deciding to sacrifice his ship and crew to save the Earth just as Janeway did in that time-travel mindfuck episode years ago, the Data's Head episode, the episodes in which we meet a character that looks like Data but isn't Data). And like The Two Towers we saw on Christmas day, we had much suspending of disbelief to do. After seeing Riker jump so ungracefully into that tube, who could believe that he didn't get stuck on the way down? That was the most incredible part of the whole film. Sam bought us coffee at Starbuck's afterwards. At home I discovered some mildew on the wall behind a bookcase and water leaking into the carpet in our storage closet. Also discovered an old spider nest so I vacuumed it up and the tiny little spiders I could find that came out of it. Patrick has just one new year's resolution ("for now"): to finish writing his second novel. We spent the evening at home, not wanting to spend US$55 or more per person on a dinner and then the same again for dancing or other festivities. Patrick thought of another resolution: "I want to see my mom." And another: "I resolve to learn how to drive a stick-shift." I got a late christmas present from Victor, Lindsay, and Harper: a book called The Dreams our Stuff is Made Of by Thomas M. Disch. The title wasn't long enough, so there's also a subtitle: How Science Fiction Conquered the World. It wasn't on my wish list, so it must be a book Victor thinks I'll like—a thoughtful gift. We'd gotten worried about them since we hadn't heard from them in a long time. Wrote an e-mail to Chris De Lay today: "here's a link back atcha: . he's surprisingly funny. patrick found the link. we saw nemesis today <shrug> it was just like you said—a bunch of previous movies in a blender and the blast-em scenes were pretty good. funny how the entire vacuum of space always takes at least 5 seconds to suck millions of cubic meters of air out before the breach is sealed and then everyone instantly has perfectly good air again. that reliable, automatic emergency air generation system even works when the rest of the ship is damaged!" Patrick called his mom at midnight in New Orleans. We watched Simpsons episodes and drank a bottle of Moet et Chandon champagne that we'd had so long we almost forgot who gave it to us. At midnight, we paused the Simpsons episode we were watching, drank champagne and kissed. Patrick called Sam. I called Tina who was at Domenica's with D, Tony, and Daniel. We were in bed by 1:00 AM.