Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New [vintage] tech toys

Today started out like this: I had a lovely breakfast with my dearest Shelby. We were originally planning on grabbing a bagel from Noah's. Then we walked by Lakeshore Cafe, and suddenly I couldn't imagine not eating my usual scrambled eggs/chicken apple sausage/english muffin combo. And water. Last night I finished a bottle of Sapphire Gin (it had previously been started, but it sounds super cool in a 'I swear I'm not an alcoholic' kind of way if you say you finished it. Plus, hey, finishing anything should be an accomplishment.) (Yes, I know it was a Tuesday. I had a really bad day. Do not judge me.) So I ordered extra water.

Then I went home. And I never left again. Not even to check the mail, and I love mail! Not to do anything. I wrote letters, I emailed. I watched Criminal Minds, I perused the web. And I played with my new toys.

Yes, you heard me. A week or so ago, a good friend of mine gave me some of his gear. I know what you're thinking, oh he just gave it to you? What exactly do you mean by 'good friend?' And to that, I have to say two things: 1. well, you know dot, dot, dot, and 2. no seriously, he's moving and is too lazy to ship his bulky audio stuff to North Carolina.

So I inherited a turntable. Yes, it's called a turntable. No, I'm not going to become a DJ. It's a Pioneer, it's not for super fly scratching. Yes, for it plays records. No, I cannot MC your wedding. Why not? Because I'm not a DJ. Yes, really.

Isn't he beautiful? I am still undecided on his name.
Don't worry, there will be an update post with the official announcement.

So here's the new set up. We have my multi-input 7.1 receiver. No, I don't have a 7.1 system set up in my studio apartment, I'm rocking the L-R system. Why? Because I'm poor. Thanks for the reminder. Underneath that is the receiver for the turntable, and then your regular cable box/dvd player stack at the bottom. Oh, and my iPod wanted to make an appearance. She felt neglected. She threatened to decrease her battery life if I didn't blog about her. She has a bit of the middle child syndrome, I think. I have no idea where she gets that from...

These speakers look eerily familiar, yes? A little reminiscent of 3263 Belmont Ave #1?
That's because they're the same ones.
My old speakers. That I gave to my friend.
That he has since gifted back to me.

I love a good tech-filled entertainment center.
So much gear.
So much potential for multi-level entertainment.
It's all so exciting.

Oh yes, about that. Here's a funny story...

So my entertainment center thing is fine french craftsmanship. Swedish materials, assembled at the hands of a French/Scottish/Irish/English person. A white person. A me person. When I moved in a few months ago, I put this together. My thinking was, since the turntable did not fit on the other side, the side with shelves, I would simply take the front off one of the drawers and make it a pull-out shelf. Clever yes? Okay, well it was actually my older brother's idea. Details, details. Anyway, so I started taking the front off, which was super easy. Only the thing about this drawer is - the front is essentially what holds the entire structure together. Now, it would be safe to think that because I was the original assembler of this contraption - I would know that before I pulled everything apart. And yet, as you can so very easily see, I did not.

So now there's just the one drawer, and a lesson learned.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I will just say it.

2010 dating sucks.

How are you supposed to accidentally meet your soulmate these days? No one talks to anyone anymore. I know this, because I take every precaution not to. Think I'm lying? I'm not. I will give you an example.

I live in a 36-apartment building. I leave my place early enough to avoid about 85% of my neighbors who, I believe, are simultaneously avoiding me. I swear I saw one of them run back UP the stairs to avoid walking parallel with me. I don't take it personally, I'd do the same thing. We all just don't want to talk to each other. It's not offensive if it's mutual. I walk briskly to my car, avoiding eye contact with everyone. Dog walkers, hill runners, who I curse under my breath for making me feel unnecessarily guilty with their early morning fitness routine, and anyone else within the block or so that I walk to my vehicle. Then I get in my car, windows up, and drive to BART.

Even before I get out of the car, I have my headphones on. I walk from the parking lot to the train station, eyes fixed on an unspecified target - it doesn't matter what, just so long as it isn't another person. I pretend I am focused, intent on getting to my destination in a timely manner, and that whatever I am listening to is overwhelmingly consuming. There is no way I can buy your paper, homeless man, I don't even see you. This is because I am super-focused-girl.

and here's the crux of the issue - everyone else is doing the same thing as me.

At this point, I'm on the train. I stand in my favorite spot, leaned up against one of the handicapped seat walls, and I am on my phone. I am on my phone checking my email, texting my friends in Texas who have already been awake for hours. I am checking my Facebook and Twitter. I am perusing the internet, assuming that we are either in San Francisco or above ground in Oakland. The point is, I am looking down. I cannot hear anyone (remember the headphones) and now I cannot see anyone (unless they are one of my 355 friends on Facebook.) And if I do happen to look up, maybe while a particular page is loading, I only look up to see everyone else is doing something else.

Old man with the plaid suit in the corner is reading the newspaper on his Kindle (insert 'only old people use eBooks' joke.) Middle-aged business woman is doing the crossword puzzle. Asian boy with a bike is playing some game on his iPhone. And overzealous, adorable, mid-twenties man, aka Mr. Blackberry, is emailing from his Blackberry Curve.

Now maybe you can see my problem. How on earth are Mr. Blackberry and I supposed to bump in to each other, accidentally, when the train makes a sudden shift entering the tunnel after the West Oakland stop, apologize awkwardly, make small talk for the remainder of our trip, both get off at the Powell Street station, assume it's fate and get married - breathe - if we wouldn't even notice the other one getting stabbed from the same distance? He's rocking out to The Smiths and sending out his sort-of liberal but really more of a moderate emails to his coworkers, the ones that do and say the most ridiculously hilarious things. And I am tweeting off-the-cuff snarky remarks about society and things that annoy me, while enjoying the musical stylings of my latest monthly iTunes playlist. See? We're perfect for each other but we'll never know it because we are so intent on not finding out.

This is the part where someone suggests that I just take my headphones off. Well, someone, if I did that, I would be making the first move. Call me a post-feminist but I am not a first-move maker. Why doesn't HE take HIS headphones off? And stop writing that email, it's too long. Also, Mr. Blackberry, you used the wrong form of "break" in that sentence. This is merely an example of how close we were standing, I did not actually read his email. That would be weird.

I have looked at all my Facebook notifications, I have tweeted three times. I am bored with my phone, finally. So I opt to stare blankly out the window of the SF-Daly City line train. Only we're under the bay so there is absolutely nothing to look at. So I look at my reflection in the window. My bangs are doing that fly-away thing again. Hell. I run my fingers through them before I realize that I am now blatantly using the window as a mirror and I'm THAT girl. I stop, immediately. I refocus my eyes to see Mr. Blackberry has finally finished his novel of an email. And time stops, because Mr. Blackberry is looking at me. He is looking at me through the reflective window and when we make eye contact, he smiles and laughs. He is laughing because, and I know why since we're like totes meant-to-be, because he caught me staring at my own reflection. And hello, pearly whites - what a smile. So I smile back, and we have a moment. That's right, it's only a matter of time before I am officially Mrs. Blackberry.

If this were 1997.

But no. We're both wearing headphones and we both have appointments and people outside of the train-world to attend to. It's awkward to stop emailing. It's too much commitment to take off your headphones. Who goes first? Whoever is willing to look desperate. Mr. Blackberry and I are in a stand-off of integrity and willpower. This will be our downfall.

We get off the train, at the same station, and we continue to not talk. Then we re-enter the real world, where he is late for work and I am back to ignoring early bird street merchants. I could be excited about my first date when the man I'm going to marry, but no, instead, I'm waiting in line behind some elderly tourist in Walgreens who wants to know if this Alcatraz sweatshirt is on sale.

So riddle me this, Mr. Jobs, how many more fairytale moments are your technological devices going to ruin? Also, I know you're not responsible for the Blackberry, though I'd like to know who is because well, you know, but it could have just as easily been an iPhone and that one is absolutely your fault. If I end up alone, I'm suing you. Just a heads up.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

credit where credit is due

It never ceases to amaze me how incredible my friends are. We're not just talking incredible as in man, that is one incredibly hilarious guy, but more as in incredibly talented. And they're willingness to share their talents with the less fortunate (e.g. myself.)

So this is a showcase blog of two of the most recent contributers to making my life (or my blog at least) a more interesting and lovely place to be. Because in the era of digital life, my blog is a place to exist. To be - a virtual location of self-deprecating hilarity.

The blog redesign
graphic design done by my lovely friend, Marina. A more permanent link to her blog - an adorable documentation of her creative ventures - can be found on the left sidebar.

A few more ways I am reaping the benefits of her abilities:
fingerless hand warmers - with red buttons.
Because aside from being talented, she is a fantastic friend who knows me too well.

and my Christmas present
lyrics from "The Mixed Tape" by Jack's Mannequin.
So perfect for my new apartment - and fits right into the color scheme. Double win.

and the recent photography -

A good friend of mine, Rob, is a freelance photographer in the Bay Area, and we had some fun the other day in and around the city limits of San Francisco. His company, Polarized Productions, is also linked in the sidebar, and I greatly encourage everyone to check it out.

here are some of shots we got that I am particularly fond of:

and now I'm off to finish of my weekend with an evening of Big Bang Theory and delicious food (hey thanks, Shelby!) Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Census-mania: the 2010 edition

Citizens of the World Wide Web, I am excited. No, wait. I am ecstatic. Stoked. Amped. Currently displaying the side effects of excessive-caffeination (due, only in part to this Venti Mocha Frappuccino.) Why, you might ask?

Because the other day, I received this in the mail.

That's right, folks. It's United States Census time. And I cannot be more ready. This will be the first census that I will get to be an active participant in. Ever since I got my hands on this notice, I have been daydreaming about surveys and forms, multi-page questionnaires about mundane, US citizen type information. While some protest government list conspiracies and wish to go "off the grid," I opt to revel in making myself known throughout Washington DC. I am excited about the census for the same 2 reasons I love MySpace surveys and internet quizzes like "Which Character from The Big Bang Theory Are You?" ( I am Sheldon.)

1. I love to talk about myself, and
2. I love people to know things about me.

So if the envelope wasn't riveting enough, I couldn't wait to see the letter. And it did not disappoint. Now, am I sad that it wasn't addressed to me directly? Yes. But that's just because the government doesn't know me YET. This will all change in, "about one week from now." I'll be honest, I really don't much care about funding for schools and health facilities that me, and my neighbors, apparently need. I'm way over that. I'm down for some highway repairs though, because for real, 880 is horrendous. Also, I'm hoping there is a short answer section on the Census form, because I definitely have some suggestions for the United States. I'll be greatly disappointed if the entire form is multiple choice and fill in the blank.

The one other bummer about this letter is who signed it. When it comes to something as monumental as the 2010 US Census, I thought it should be sent from someone with some power. A name that can stand on it's own.

I had a few suggestions, like:
Sincerely, Barack Obama.
or Sincerely, John McClane.
or the ever-impressive: Sincerely, Batman.

Author's Note: I am fully aware that Batman was a vigilante and would, in all reality, never be in charge of a nation-wide citizen count - but how freaking cool would it be to get a letter from Batman? Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

But no, sadly, my letter, as well as the letters of several other residents of the Oakland/Piedmont area, were sent from Robert M. Groves. Who the hell is that? I mean really. I don't care about you, Mr. Groves. Your name resonates no fear, no awe. Nothing. So I changed my letter. My letter came from "the government." And I cannot wait to receive more government issued mail. Bring it on, United States of America, bring. it. on.