August 31, 2004

Macaroni and chess

I played my first game of non-computerized chess last night!

It was great fun. It was a solid thirty minutes (more? I have no idea) of trying to figure out what fiendish schemes Jacob was hatching, while occasionally stopping to wonder what fiendish schemes I was hatching. Neither of us made a very good show of our powers of perception, or, for that matter, our powers of strategy; at one point we both looked at the board and realized that Jacob's king had been in check for several turns and we had no idea how that had happened. I certainly hadn't planned it. Nor did I plan the brilliant knights-gonna-bust-a-cap-in-your-bishop's-ass trap in which Jacob found himself mid-game, but I was more than happy to take credit for it. He was more than happy to get out of it by capturing my rook.

I can't fucking believe I'm giving a chess play-by-play in my blog. I'm the biggest goddamn dork in the universe.

My point is, I enjoyed it immensely. My other point is, I know that there are other people who read my blog and play chess. My ass is easy to kick at this point. Please take it upon yourselves to do so.

Posted by dianna at 11:12 AM

August 30, 2004

Oh, is it three o'clock already?

In the immortal words of Michele, EW EW EW EW!

A group of maybe 13-year-old kids walked down the street past the office just now, looking like, well, kids walking around San Francisco without enough to do. They've wandered past our office before; last week one of them stood in front of the door, pointing at the "PUSH" sign and pulling on the door handle for several minutes. I wasn't impressed.

Today one of them--the same one, perhaps-- opened the front door and walked into the office. He mumbled something. "Sorry?" I prompted. "Can I borrow your phone?" he asked more clearly this time, raising the SF Weekly that he was holding. I gave him a quizzical look, and he opened the paper to reveal a two-page spread of 1-900 porn ads. "I want to call her," he said, pointing.

It's possibly just as well that my brain and mouth rebelled against the suggestion of formulating a verbal response to this. I gave him the most unamused look I can recall ever giving anyone, and a kid-get-the-hell-out-of-my-office wave. He retreated out the door muttering something irritated and incomprehensible, which turned into an irritated and incomprehensible yell by the time he got back to the sidewalk. He balled up the SF Weekly and flung it in the street, where it's still fluttering around.

"That kid needs therapy," remarked one of the architects with a shake of his head. I think I could use some too at this point. Agh!

Posted by dianna at 03:23 PM

Douglas Adams had something to say about this.

Please consider one couch, one upstairs apartment and one backyard cottage.

The couch is large and heavy. It's long, wide, and did I mention heavy? The upstairs apartment has one wide front door with twisty stairs, and one narrower back door with slightly less twisty stairs. The cottage has one medium-sized front door with narrow steps and a slightly cramped porch.

The couch entered the scene via the twisty stairs and wide front door, via the efforts of two burly furniture-delivery professionals. It took a considerable amount of turning, backing, turning again, hoisting, lowering, and squeezing for them to get the couch up the stairs. The door, thankfully, was easy.

This week, hopefully, will contain a day in which the couch will be moved from the upstairs apartment to the cottage (I'll get to the hopefully part later). The available personnel for this move consists of: Jacob, myself, and whatever help we can solicit from Roommates Katie and Frank. Jacob is burly. Frank is burly. I am not burly. Katie is not burly. No one of the four of us is a professional mover or deliveryperson.

Living room gets cleared out to create a path for mobile couches. Couch goes across living room to hallway, down hallway, through tight spot next to rear bedroom, out narrowish back door, onto back porch. Couch goes around turn on porch, down steep tiled stairs, around tight turn at bottom next to stucco wall, down last few cement steps, onto lawn. Couch goes across lawn to cottage steps, around turn next to bushes, up steps, onto porch, around turn next to porch railing, and in through medium-sized door.

As long as nobody dies, I think it'll be fun.

Posted by dianna at 10:49 AM

August 26, 2004

"Never ask an architect anything."

"A full-size drawing is thirty inches by forty-two inches, but you always say the width first. So it's forty-two by thirty."
"Well, but we always just say thirty by forty-two."
"Really? Width first?"
"Oh, so, you look at it this way [drawing a tall skinny rectangle in the air]. So it's thirty by forty-two."
"But, you know, when you look at the document in AutoCAD it always says thirty by forty-two."
"Width first."
"Long ways!"
"When you specify a door you'll say something like, three-oh by seven-oh."
"Forty-two by thirty."
"It's a portrait, see."
"Never ask an architect anything."

This is what happened when I asked three architects and one interior designer whether full-size drawings are thirty-two by forty, or forty-two by thirty. I spent fully three minutes looking from one of them to another and occasionally saying, "Yes, but thirty-two doesn't feature anywhere in here, right?" "Okay, thirty by forty-two, then?" "Forty-two and thirty are the key dimensions here?" and finally, "I'm never going to believe anything you tell me again" (that last was to the interior designer, who was flat-out lying with a miraculously straight face).

The company picnic is this weekend. I can't wait to see what happens when you put these people in a park with four six-packs of beer and two jungle gyms. I'm confident that it will be an event to remember.

Posted by dianna at 02:53 PM

August 23, 2004

If I don't come in tomorrow, you better cut that tree down.

It's just almost raining in the city right now; the streets are damp and drops of water shake themselves off the trees now and then. Two people in the office are wearing only black; two people in the office are wearing blue pinstriped pants. I've got my desk to myself again. Somewhere to the east, people are sanding putty and setting stone slabs in the house where Jacob and I will be living by the end of the month. Final inspection on the electrical wiring is tomorrow and on Wednesday we'll be told for certain how soon we can move. I invested last night in a chessboard and a delicious Japanese meal.

Things are looking up. I can expect to have the gloomy, soggy park with its looming leaden skies nearly to myself at lunch, and that only makes things look up all the more.

Posted by dianna at 11:23 AM

August 20, 2004

Friday, quiet, feels like Monday?

This week went by in a blur. Clients stood next to my desk eyeing seven-digit numbers and looking unhappy about them. I was late an unpaid half-hour because of my environmentally responsible use of public transit, apologized to irate contractors for things I didn't do, and accidentally barged into meetings I didn't know I shouldn't barge into.

I touched the one bell pepper growing on my bell pepper plant and it came off in my hand. Ripe? Who knows. A roommate who shall remain nameless turned two of my basil plants into lifeless sticks by picking the leaves that won't grow back instead of the ones that will. Downstairs neighbors who shall remain nameless filled my room with pot smoke via the one window just as I was trying to go to bed. Construction on the cottage still lags; there's progress, but it's by fits and starts and mostly stops.

The weekend, however, approaches on little winged feet. There are donuts in the office, and even though I can't eat them I can still bask in the feeling of a Friday morning with donuts. The Filipino architect, the Taiwanese interior designer and the Mexican architect are talking about various breakfast foods they'd like to bring in instead; my head is filled with visions of pastries, which beat sugarplums any day.

Perhaps it's not all bad.

Posted by dianna at 10:01 AM

August 12, 2004

Thursday, quiet, feels like Friday.

Jacob's in San Diego until Sunday. Bella slept in bed with me last night, which was slightly fuzzier and more perilous than my regular sleeping experience. Jacob doesn't usually scratch if you pull the blankets away from him, but then, he doesn't purr either. Bella didn't nag me to get out of bed this morning, but neither did she walk me to the BART station. Since the score appears to be tied, I won't plan on leaving the man and running away with the cat just yet.

I got suckered pretty well last night. The roommate who doesn't cook said we should all make dinner together; the roommate who does cook enthusiastically agreed. Pot pie, she suggested? It was a hit. But, she said, she really wanted to clean the bathroom so maybe non-cooking roommate and I could make the pot pie? There's a small problem here which was not immediately apparent to me, which is that You Can't Do Things If You Don't Know How. And if there's one kitchen activity I hate, it's trying to cook while also handholding someone else's cooking efforts. Select a portion of the cooking process and do it by yourself, by all means. Require my input, no.

Since this didn't occur to me at the time of the suggestion, I didn't sensibly disavow any involvement with the pot pie and retire to my room to play computer games. I spent an hour and a half making gravy and roux and biscuit dough and chopping vegetables and boiling potatoes and explaining that the flour sifter is not a strainer for corn and no, it doesn't matter what order you put the vegetables in the pan but adding them all to the gravy first isn't going to make your life any easier. I was in a wide array of moods about it and wound up a paragon of crankiness by the time bedtime rolled around.

Notes on moving into the cottage: Jacob can cook, and doesn't like to clean the bathroom. This is an important advantage over many other people, and will drastically reduce my time spent in Cranky Suckerville. Yay.

Posted by dianna at 12:02 PM

August 11, 2004

Perks of the job #53.7: getting to open the mail.

A nationally recognized paint company with money to spare on advertising sent us a brochure today. They enclosed a note to let us know that they have a new line of paint sample products, ideal for matching and selecting just the right colors. To make sure we remembered them and their wide array of colors, they sent a gadget which a) I have claimed as my prize and intend to guard quite jealously, and b) is now known to the general office as THE PEN. You have to say it with extreme emphasis, because good lord, man, it's THE PEN!

It's heavy, bulky and very shiny. Ironically, it's made of clear glass with a black barrel: an almost complete absence of color. I opened the package, snickered, clicked the clicky button on the top of the barrel, and stared in awe as the entire glass section glowed purple, fading to blue, switching to red, flashing gold, flashing purple, glowing gently again, pulsing, flash, pulse, red, purple, gold, gold, gold, purple, flash, red, blue, blue, flashyflashyflashyflashy flash pulse glow.

It's my baby.

Posted by dianna at 04:37 PM

August 07, 2004

The kind of story that totally fails to be charming.

I was sitting outside in the sun an hour ago watching the 2-year-old munchkin from downstairs playing with her 4-year-old munchkin cousin. The new cushions for the old wooden lawn furniture arrived today, so Roommate Katie and I enjoyed the luxurious sitting experience while the kids ran around playing with the enormous empty cushion boxes. They climbed inside and said they were going to ship themselves somewhere, they stacked them up to make a clubhouse, and they used them as props for an epic karate demonstration. Eventually the 2-year-old dropped out of the box olympics and sat on Katie's lap, while the older girl continued playing. She positioned the biggest box in front of us, declaring that it was the TV and she was going to put on a show.

We clicked the remote/stick to turn on the TV and she started doing magic tricks for us. She vanished a hypothetical cat. She turned sticks into grass and leaves into empty boxes. She vanished herself right into the box, not to be seen at all. Then she climbed back out of the box, assured us that the box was now the TV again, and told us that there was a girl in it. "Oh?" Katie asked. "What's her name?"

"Isi," the little girl announced, "her name is Isi." We nodded. This wasn't the girl's name, but clearly she was not the one in the box so that made perfect sense. We asked if Isi was going to put on the show now, and were informed that she was not.

"Isi's dead." I stared. "She can't put on a show. She's dead, so she can't be funny."

Posted by dianna at 01:34 PM

August 06, 2004

This post is about puppies.


Roommate Katie recently rounded up a new person to replace Roommate Andrew. He won't actually be our roommate for long since Jacob and I are moving to the back unit, but nonetheless I will call him Roommate Frank. Or, I will call him The Roommate With A Puppy!!!! (the exclamation marks are included in the title). He came home yesterday with a 3-month-old retrievery sort of pup, complete with velvety soft floppy ears and big sulky brown eyes. She might be a mix of a Labrador and something, or she might be some variety of African lion-hunting dog. Or, she might be tail-waggy and sniffy and cuddly and interested in eating plastic bags. It's all very uncertain.

She was groggy from her spay surgery yesterday and not really feeling up to much activity. This meant that bathroom trips outside required Frank to pick her up in her puppy bed and carry her down the stairs like a big puppy burrito. Jacob and I stood on the porch and watched her little fuzzy head, flopped on her giant paws and swaddled in a huge amount of plaid blanket, bob slowly down the stairs. It was so cute that my brain exploded. I put it back together, though.

Oh. Did I say we won't be living here much longer? Well, never mind that. The construction on the cottage is lagging again. The date when it's expected to be done, which started out as mid-July and moved back to August 1st, then August 7th, has moved back again to, "well, probably the 15th or 20th." I've got enough perspective to recognize that this isn't any kind of catastrophe for me; until it's done, I just get to stay in my nice apartment where everything's already set up the way I like it. If that's not enough, I also get to play with the puppy. PUPPY PUPPY PUPPY YAY.

That said... argh. I was starting to excitedly count the days until I'd have my own desk on which to set up my computer, meaning I could actually check my bank balance without having to talk Jacob away from his games. I was drooling over the prospect of a bathroom with 2 fewer people taking showers in the morning, thus eliminating the daily shower-versus-toothbrushing races. I thought longingly of an uncrowded fridge, finding the same utensils clean that I'd left clean, and knowing whose hummus that might be. My countdowns have all gone to hell now, and I'm left dreaming of getting the boxes of books out of the doorway--packed up in preparation for moving last week--and the roll of carpet pad out of the hallway--a bit useless in an already carpeted apartment, really. Sigh.

I wonder if Catcatcat is thinking of us. They were nice, she says to herself, they liked my fuzz. They were supposed to come back for me. Will they? Maybe they won't. Maybe they don't love me. Maybe they only love puppies.

Posted by dianna at 10:41 AM

August 05, 2004

KoL having server problems, Dianna in mourning. Story at 11.


In you I confide,
Knob Goblin tattoo,
I'm fit to be dyed, am I fit to have you?

Posted by dianna at 10:16 AM