March 31, 2005

The Smirky Fucker Diary: Thursday is three kinds of fun!

Good Friday was last week, but, believing that late is better than never, I have developed stigmata. Strict accuracy would require me to say that I only have one of them, but since I don't know what the proper word would be I'll just stick with the plural. In a stunning demonstration of my "always use the wrong tool for the job" policy yesterday afternoon, I managed to jam the point end of a box cutter into the middle of my palm. It's right on one of the creases in my hand, so if anyone here reads palms, I'll post a picture and we can figure out whether it's my love line or my life line that's just been impaled.

One of the great things about studying a language that was co-opted for religious use a thousand years ago is that you get some truly outstanding vocabulary sentences. Not for Sanskrit the "I like apples" and "My brother is named Joe" sentences, no. Here's one that my textbook asked me to translate last night (pardon my image quality).
It means, "I think of happiness, and see only misery on all sides."

Lastly, I saw a woman on BART this morning whack another passenger in the chest with her handbag, which was printed with the word "kindness". It didn't seem to be deliberate, but neither did she seem to notice she'd done it. Have a lovely day, everyone.

Posted by dianna at 09:57 AM

March 30, 2005


I'm guessing from today's Google homepage that it's Vincent Van Gogh's birthday. This affords me a perfect opportunity to put in a plug for my personal favorite, tragically under-recognized, Van Gogh painting: Boots With Laces.


I used to have a print of this hanging in my bedroom as a sort of holy icon for my personal religion of old, dirty, well-worn boots. Let us all now take a moment to gaze reverently upon the painting and think, God damn that is some fucked-up footwear.

As a final note, I'm boycotting Michele's page today because she has a massive, unavoidable, first-thing-to-load-on-the-page porn picture at the top of today's entry. I'd otherwise like to comment on the entry, but can't because every time I try to load the comments page it comes up with the porn (rather than the comments) front and center and I panic and close the window. Therefore I present the comments section of this entry as an alternate location for discussion relating to Michele's post.

Posted by dianna at 11:28 AM

March 29, 2005

The Lazy Chef does lunch: Everybody into the freezer!

I suffer from one of the eternal quandaries of working humans: What To Do For Lunch? My commute is longer than my lunch hour, so coming home isn't an option. Restaurant or take-out lunches on my secretarial paycheck are an impossibility even for yours truly, Fiscal K. Undependable. This all adds up to bringing bag lunches from home, but I've got some problems with acquiring them. Time has a tendency to tick on to 9:00 with me barely dinnered, and there's nothing like starting preparing food all over again when you're full and sleepy to make you... well, I wouldn't even know, because I can never bring myself to do it. Andrew has an elegant, high-volume solution, but my pathological aversion to sandwiches makes it less than perfect for me. So? Burritos!

I made a pot of rice, got out some frozen corn and frozen bell peppers, opened a can of pinto beans and a can of black olives, and swore a blue streak because my soy cheese was moldy. Having thrown away the cheese and recovered my composure, I made an assembly-line burrito factory only slightly less efficient than Andrew's sandwich factory. Warm tortilla to soften, pile on scoop of rice, handful of beans, handfuls of corn and peppers, and sprinkling of olives. Fold into burrito-shaped package, wrap in saran wrap, and fling into the freezer. The freezer! Mankind's great miracle, the freezer! Behold, my children, thy lunches shall remain fresh, and they shall be tasty, and so too shall they be convenient and reasonably healthy, and all of this shall be thine for a lesser price than thou shalt find in thy local grocery store freezer section.

Sing hallelujah, and praise thy upstairs neighbor who had the idea first. Oh, and maybe next time remember to put some salsa in the things, because heavenly inspiration alone is kind of bland.

Posted by dianna at 09:27 PM

March 28, 2005

Singin' I told you, son, the day would come.

The following is a cat saga.

A stray cat turned up in my neighborhood about six months ago. She was a tiny little mangy ball of fuzz who followed everyone around making irritable feedmefeedmepetmepayattentiontomedamnit noises at them. She was obviously a shiftless punk and probably beating up our housecats when we weren't looking, but wasn't she sweet? So of course we were thrilled when she started hanging out full-time with the neighbors two houses up. They were feeding her, they were taking care of her, she was looking healthier and fluffier and clearly everything was great.

About two months ago we found out that possibly everything wasn't as great as previously imagined. The guys up the street were feeding her, but they had an allergic roommate and couldn't let her in, and they hadn't had her spayed or vaccinated. Maybe, we heard through the grapevine, they weren't even going to keep her. My upstairs neighbor and I snapped to attention when we heard this. Our ball of fluff must not go to the pound!, we declared, and talked our respective roommates into a cat-sharing scheme. We'd take her to the vet, she could come and go from the cottage and upstairs, and as long as we split the food and vet costs it wouldn't be totally prohibitive.

My upstairs neighbor ran this scheme past the guys two houses up, and came back to report that they were balking. They didn't think she needed an indoor home or vet care, and they wanted her to stay with them. You're trying to tame a wild spirit, we were told by proxy, she's fine the way she is. We stomped our feet and railed at their complacence and negligence, and sent the upstairs neighbor back to talk to them again.

Finally we thought we'd reached an agreement. She'd still be the neighborhood's outdoor cat; we wouldn't hijack her for ourselves. We'd take her to the vet, though, and split the costs three ways between the cottage household, the upstairs household, and the up-the-street household. We didn't need another cat anyway (and neither did the upstairs neighbors), but she did need proper care. Jacob and I called around, made appointments, took afternoons off and took her in for her shots on Friday. We nodded somewhat sheepishly when the vets told us how sweet it was that we were bringing this cat in when no one else would.

We came back from the animal hospital on Friday afternoon, with an inoculated cat and instructions to keep her inside for a few hours. Since we had guests and plans for the evening we thought we'd try asking the guys up the street if they could maybe just let her inside for the one afternoon. We headed up to their house and ran into one of them on his way out. "Hey," we told him, "we just took the orange cat to the vet for her shots."

"You did?" he asked. "Because we made her an appointment for next week."

Now you fucking do this?

Posted by dianna at 02:47 PM

March 25, 2005

Why are all the secretaries smiling today?

Here's the logic as far as I can figure it out.

  1. Large orders for office supplies are mostly placed by the secretaries, office managers, and administrative assistants of companies.
  2. The people holding these positions are, more often than not, female.
  3. When the shipments of office supplies arrive they are likely to be opened and distributed by the people who ordered them.
  4. If an office-supply-shipping company sends a free gift as a reward for placing a large order, it will probably end up in the possession of the person who opens the shipment.
  5. That person, as mentioned in #2 above, is likely to be female.
  6. If the reward-for-ordering system is going to work, the free gift should be chosen to appeal to the likely recipient.
  7. Did I mention that the likely recipient is a woman?

And this is why I got a handheld personal massager from Office Depot yesterday.

Posted by dianna at 09:35 AM

March 24, 2005

Sometimes it pays to ask.

Yesterday morning I looked up the menu of the restaurant to which I'd been invited for dinner, and promptly called Jacob to inform him that goddamnit, there was nothing there that I could eat, I'm sick of being suckered like this, is it so hard to either find a restaurant with one decent vegan option or let me stay home eating pea soup in antisocial peace? And Jacob calmly hung up the phone and called the restaurant to ask if they could make me some vegan options and they said yes, so I shuffled my feet and looked embarrassed and went to the restaurant after all. Once there I asked the waitress for a suggestion and was directed to a completely delicious plate of vegetables and lentils and appetizer salads and dips, and I was overwhelmingly glad that I'd asked.

I came in to work this morning in a sleepy but well-fed good mood, and noticed the bag of candy sitting on the office's center table. I picked through it for a few minutes and came up with a possible match for my candy needs: a handful of chewy Starburst candies. I pursued a don't-ask-don't-tell ingredients policy for long enough to eat three or four of them, and then, feeling magnanimous, decided to look online for an ingredients list. They're just fruit candies, I reasoned, what are they going to have in them, milk? Hardly. Nutrition information will vindicate me. So I looked up the ingredients and found myself staring glumly at the word "gelatin", sitting right there between dextrin and modified food starch while I sat there with another candy already unwrapped in my hand, and I wished I'd never bothered to find out.

What? I didn't say it always paid to ask.

Posted by dianna at 03:26 PM

March 23, 2005

Qwx: Malice and mayhem!

Like any sane person would be, I'm chilled to the bone by the apparent cause of yesterday's Cementhorizon downtime. I'm not sure whose work this could have been, but something as terrible as what Gene has described cannot be merely a chance occurrence. This is an act of deliberate monstrosity, a shockingly immoral assault on all that we hold dear.

I quote directly from Gene's explanatory paragraph on the main page: "...from my perspective with the poisoned cookie..."

Ladies and gentlemen, we are dealing with a sick mind here.

Posted by dianna at 03:08 PM

March 21, 2005

Black planet.

"Emo is the late-90s and early-2000s version of goth."

That was the subject of a conversation last night between myself (the ex-emo kid) and Jacob (the ex-goth). We were making blueberry cobbler and listening to the Sisters of Mercy, and I was surprised to discover that I knew and liked almost every song off of Floodland even though I wouldn't have known it by name. It was because of my sister, I explained, and the fact that we shared a bedroom during most of her goth years. My complaining was for the principle of the thing; I did like the music. Why, then, did I never pick up the fishnets and eyeliner myself? Jacob reasons that my obsession and melodrama just happened to be shunted into Dickies and lip rings instead: a superficial difference in appearance but the same essential self-indulgence underneath.

It's not a bad theory. I'm pretty sure that the world was ending for me in 2001 about as surely as it was ending for Katie in 1996. It was probably equally likely that without constant musical accompaniment I was entirely doomed, and the need to dress the part and advertise my alienation was quite as compelling. So why, I asked last night, having gotten that out of my system, am I still a little sorry that I never had a goth period of my own? What was it, exactly, that gave gothness such glamour that I never quite felt my emo period measured up?

"It sounds dangerous," said Jacob. "It's depressing and self-indulgent, AND it sounds like it's really really bad for you."
"Aha! You're on to something!" I exclaimed. "Emo kids are painfully aware of their own total harmlessness. And instead of building themselves up as the kings and queens of the unapologetically damned, they're knocking themselves down as the bottom of the heap, the people who fail without trying."

Please discuss.

Posted by dianna at 11:55 AM

March 20, 2005

On this the anniversary of our most beloved refund...

I would like to take a moment to offer a prayer of thanks to the gods of TurboTax, TaxACT, and all other entities that have made it possible for me to file this, my fifth annual income tax return, without ever having set pencil to paper tax form. Jeez, you guys, I really love you.

The part of me that likes old musty libraries and arcane archives occasionally thinks that it might be fun to someday fill out a paper tax return. Just try it, once, you know? How can I truly appreciate the time and frustration I'm saving with electronic tax returns if I've never used anything else? Then March rolls around and I see just how many worksheets and supplemental forms I'm allowed to skip by answering simple questions in the English language. A friendly-looking screen asks me, "Are you deceased?" I answer no, and suddenly I never even have to know that Form Q5837-e exists. "Are you totally or partially blind? No? Then don't you even worry your little head about Worksheet 57x. We'll take care of it for you." I'm thrilled. Have I ever mentioned how much I like not having to worry about things?

If I were paranoid, if course, I might wonder what else is slipping past my attention. It's entirely plausible that there are other credits, technicalities, things that a careful and determined examination of every form in the world might reveal, of which I'm not aware because I'm not forced to look at those forms. Worksheet 57x might have a subclause in paragraph 5 of the instructions that says that if you sign your name on line 16, the federal government will add $1,000 to your refund to cover any possible cookie expenses you may have incurred during the year, and if you think that you may have omitted this signature in previous years you may elect either to sue the Department of Cookie Disbursements for back cookie payments or to receive a one-time shipment of thirty pounds of your choice of dessert foods if you drop your suit.

It seems unlikely, though, especially since I have yet to be elected Queen of the United States. And since I'm receiving a refund which I'm choosing to interpret as a cookie fund anyway, what the hell do I have to complain about? Nothing. So, on behalf of myself and everyone else of my generation who's got it so damned easy every April that we don't know how easy we've got it... thank you.

Posted by dianna at 02:00 PM

March 18, 2005

I don't believe in fate.

But I do believe in taking, and running with, any intriguing coincidences that come my way.

I went back to Everlasting today and met Mike. I liked him instantly. He looks like a hippie art-school student, with scruffy hair and a nose ring; on the Dianna scale of intimidation he ranks somewhere around a fluffy bunny rabbit. Excellent. We talked for a few minutes about the design and decided to set up an appointment. Unfortunately, he told me, it would have to be a few weeks away because his schedule's pretty full. "Oh, I'm in no hurry," I said, "This is a birthday present, and my birthday isn't until May."

"Oh," he asked, "What day?"
"May seventh," I told him. He grinned.

I have a new tattoo artist, and he has the same birthday as me. My first appointment with him is in late April, about two weeks before the birthday in question, and this will probably be the last time I'll blog about it for the next month. I have to talk about something else sometime, right? If it goes as well as I'm hoping, though, not only will I blog my head off, I'll probably also send him a birthday present. I hope he likes cookies... but then, I've never met anyone born on May seventh who didn't.

Posted by dianna at 07:22 PM

Hot tramp, I love you so.

And the news is: Mike Davis is my main man. I sat in the lobby of Everlasting Tattoo yesterday staring at a picture of someone's vivid, sinuous vine sleeve and grinning maniacally. I occasionally found myself letting out little excited giggling noises that were never supposed to be audible. I'd look around to make sure that the older couple were still busy talking to the other tattoo artist and hadn't noticed my outburst, and then I'd attempt to smooth my face back into a look of thoughtful interest. Gaze casually at the portfolio, Dianna, don't clutch it to your chest and hop around the shop going "woo woo woo woo woo". Flip pages, compare elements, consider whether you prefer the outlines on this piece or if you'd like to bring in some of the softness of this other one. When you conclude that he's definitely demonstrated the ability to do your design justice, stand up calmly and ask the guy answering the phone if he can set you up with an appointment to talk to Mike. Don't run over breathlessly, slam the portfolio on the desk and squeak, "Can you believe this stuff?"

I'm not sure why people aren't lined up around the block all day every day to see this man, but I've been told I can just drop by today around 5 and he'll make time to talk to me. It's kind of like being told, "of course the king can see you now." I'm so excited and awed that I'm not sure I'll be coherent by 5:00. Fortunately, the color printer and I had a few moments alone this morning to print up a bunch of reference photos and the latest version of my sketch. I can just hand him the printouts and a pair of earplugs; if he ignores my babbling and just looks at the pictures he'll probably get an okay idea of what I'm trying to do.

Woo woo woo woo woo woo woo!

Posted by dianna at 10:49 AM

March 17, 2005


Ways in which a papaya is like a bottle of perfume:

  • They both come in vaguely oblong containers with a slim neck at one end.

  • The containers are very attractive but the strange decorative shapes distract the buyer from a thorough evaluation of the contents.

  • They have a distressing tendency to leak if not stored carefully.

  • Sniffing the outside of either container isn't a good way to tell whether you will like the contents. If samples aren't provided, you're completely in the dark.

  • Attempting to fully open the containers is a messy process that may not be worth it.

  • The sickly taste is a good indicator that the contents of neither container should be ingested.

Totally gross. For the record, then: mangoes tasty, papayas untasty. Would anyone like an opened, half-empty bottle of perfume?

Posted by dianna at 01:26 PM

March 16, 2005

Icing the body electric.

My donuts were put on a local delivery truck at 9:00 this morning. Their smiling faces will greet me when I come home tonight, and I'll gaze lovingly upon them for a long moment before tearing open the wrappers and stuffing them all into my mouth. Don't think of me as a monster. We all love in whatever way we see fit.

Research has revealed the utterly unsurprising fact that I don't know how to draw anything. Blackberry leaves grow in clusters on short side stems, not singly on the main vine. Tomato leaves grow close together at the newest ends of each branch, and spread apart on the older stems. Since I'm not quite a great fool (which you must have known, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you), I was planning for this kind of revelation. This is why God invented reference photographs, after all. The cool thing is that if I leave my design in the shape that it is but re-draw the leaves for botanical accuracy, I'll have the jungle I was originally picturing. Sweet. Sweet like blackberries. Do you see how everything comes back around to food again?

Posted by dianna at 01:25 PM

March 15, 2005

You are the son of incestuous union.

Have I already used that title? I might have.

Yesterday I made a decision: I'm getting tattooed for my birthday. I've got the design for my back figured out, I can finally afford it (with some help from The Most Awesome Birthday Present Ever), and damn it, it's my birthday. I spent a couple of hours last night making a Photoshop mock-up so that I can give the artist something to work from, and now all that's left is to decide which artist that's going to be. Probably Marie Wadman, I mused last night, but I want to take a good look at Karen Roze's portfolio just to be sure. They're both in the Mission. I could stop in at both shops on my way home from work and make up my mind, so let me just go to their websites to get their addresses.

Dum de dum... Sacred Rose, Black and Blue... hang on a sec.

Marie Wadman isn't tattooing at Black and Blue anymore. Just at the moment, in fact, she isn't tattooing anywhere. She's opening up her own shop and will be taking clients when she gets it up and running... in the fall. Fall? Fall?! I said my birthday, not my half-birthday! I wanted to spend my summer photosynthesizing!

I despair. If Karen Roze's work isn't what I'm looking for, I will instead spend my summer sulking.

Edit: all right, all right. Click here to see my crappy Photoshop sketch of the design. That's blackberries on the left, tomatoes on the right, and horticultural detail and integration with my existing tattoos are being pretty much ignored at this point. I'm also still biting my nails over that top tomato, although without an appropriate artist that's the least of my worries.

Posted by dianna at 10:38 AM

March 14, 2005

Blood sugar, hold the sex magik

I spent my lunchtime today talking to Ray, the Dolores Park Ambler. He's the charming older fellow who walks sloooowly up and down the south side of the park with his cane, stopping to say something to anyone who'll listen. I generally listen. Today he was telling me about, well, everything really. Alcohol, women, bad tendons. Dope. Pensions. Being a building manager. He threw in something about flogging tenants, just to see if I was still listening (I was). Two major recurring themes are his life here in the 60s compared to now, and how good he's got it. The former is fascinating if incredibly hard to understand, and the latter is charming because, when you get right down to it, he's a disabled retiree with no family. He's also apparently the happiest person living in this city.

When I glanced at my watch and told him that I'd better head back to work, he shook my hand and told me that he loves people who work. This brought to mind a story he'd told me a few weeks ago about an experiment he did: he put down a bunch of new, shiny pennies on the sidewalk and settled down to watch. When someone walked right by them, Ray asked him why he hadn't picked up any of the pennies. The guy responded by telling him how much money he made each month and how he didn't need any pennies, and Ray thanked him. "Please keep making so much money," he said, "you're paying my rent... you lovely puppy."

The only part of this story that is not actually a lovely puppy is the fact that I spent my lunch hour conversing instead of eating. By 3:00 I was a blood sugar catastrophe: shaky, exhausted, and overwhelmed by absolutely everything. Call the phone company? I can't call the phone company. I don't know what they'll say; how can I possibly call them? Give me an hour to write out a script of the conversation and then maybe I can call them. I have a list of nine other similar tasks to complete in the next month? No, I'm sorry. I can't do that; that's way too much. Now I remember why I'm always eating. It beats not functioning.

Posted by dianna at 04:27 PM

March 12, 2005

Brown rice and curried grass.

Because I'm not sure that everyone here fully understands my obsession with baked goods, I'm going to post the recipe for tonight's dessert so you can all drool over it. Please keep in mind that I'm eating this right now.

Raspberry Crumb Cake

2 c. turbinado or raw sugar
generous 2 1/2 c. white flour
scant 3/4 c. Earth Balance (or other vegan butter if you must)
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. powdered egg replacer
1/4 c. water
3/4 c. vanilla soy milk
1 c. fresh or frozen raspberries

Mix sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add Earth Balance and cut into the dry ingredients with two knives until it forms smaller-than-pea-sized crumbs. Scoop out 2 cups of crumb mixture and set aside for the topping. In a separate cup, mix egg replacer powder with water and stir well. Add vanilla and soy milk. Pour liquid mixture into remaining crumbs, add raspberries and stir just until combined.

Pour batter into a greased 8"x8" baking pan or casserole dish and pour crumbs evenly over the top of the batter. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 45 minutes (or 5-10 minutes longer if your fruit was still frozen). When it passes the toothpick test, take it out and serve immediately in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream (I recommend cinnamon-caramel flavor Soy Cream).

Recipe taken from Sinfully Vegan (thank you Katie) and modified for even more sugary goodness. Also, if anyone would like the recipe for the stupendous green chile enchiladas that preceded this, let me know and I'll post that too.

Baker's note: other successful variations on this recipe have included raspberry chocolate chip, cinnamon, and apple spice (use 1 small Granny Smith apple and 1/4 cup raisins for the fruit, and add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to taste in batter and crumbs). For best crumbs use 1 cup regular sugar and 1 cup powdered sugar instead of 2 cups regular sugar.

Posted by dianna at 09:26 PM

March 11, 2005

They must hire specialists for this.

Good morning, Perky Receptionist here.
-Good morning, Perky Receptionist. I'm Argumentative Guy from Overnight Delivery Service.
Oh, hi, Argumentative Guy. Have you figured out what's going on with my package that didn't get picked up yesterday?
-Well, Perky, I'm looking at the entry in our computer system and it looks like that pickup wasn't scheduled for yesterday.
Oh, actually, it was. I called at 4:00 and asked for it to be picked up by 5:15.
-No, as a matter of fact it looks like that pickup is scheduled for this morning between 9:00 and 11:00.
Argumentative Guy, I think I know how that happened. I spoke to one of your customer service people just a few minutes ago and she apologized and told me she'd reschedule the pickup for this morning.
-Nope, Perky, this is definitely the original pickup record that I'm looking at. You called yesterday afternoon and asked for the package to be picked up this morning.
I'm pretty sure I couldn't have done that even if I wanted, Argumentative Guy, since your company doesn't normally schedule pickups before noon.
-Well, Perky, I'm definitely seeing what I'm seeing in our records. I really don't know why you've got a totally different story here.
Look, instead of arguing, can I just get my package picked up as soon as possible?
-Argue? I'd never argue with you. I'm here to help.

Posted by dianna at 10:10 AM

March 10, 2005


It's hard not to feel a little bit sorry (through the irritation, of course) for anyone holding a job in sales. I always have to wonder if they stepped out of college or dot-com employment and found themselves being aggressively recruited with promises of fantastic salaries and exciting travel, only to be given a heavy bag of samples and sent walking around Noe Valley to try to sell them to people who don't want to buy them. It's got to be frustrating to be them and know that really, your stuff is exactly the same as your competitor's stuff, but you're still going to get turned away by the receptionist because she doesn't feel like explaining to her boss why they should switch. Damn girl's only your age, anyway, so how did she get the desk job and you're hauling around the shoulder bag of crap? Life's not fair.

But if you want to get a brusque, irritable rejection instead of the usual polite and apologetic one, a good way to make it happen is to grab the handle on the front door and pull it, hard, despite the sign saying "push" and the fact that it's already slightly open in the inward direction. It'll slam against the other door, making a noise like a gunshot and making a few more chips of paint flake off around the point of impact. Then, walk in grinning and ask me if I noticed how in fact you actually pulled the door when it even said to push it. When I sigh and tell you that an awful lot of people do the exact same thing, continue to beat the horse by repeating that the sign said to push and you pulled, and didn't I just love that? Yes. I adored it. Get the fuck out of my office, you irresistible man you.

This is a perfect opportunity to share the wonderful piece of information which I acquired yesterday. My Sanskrit book, in explaining when to use a noun in the accusative form, included the helpful example of a word which means "a curse upon [blank]". When using a noun or pronoun with this word, it's necessary to put the noun or pronoun into the accusative form. Well, screw the grammatical lesson, actually, because the word itself is much more exciting. You see, it's pronounced "dhik".

Dhik tvam = a curse upon you (singular).
Dhik yuyam = a curse upon all of you!

I need to check that second one again, because I was so excited about dhik that my attention to the proper pronoun forms was sort of scanty, but I'm sure you understand. Dhik has that effect on people.

Posted by dianna at 11:06 AM

March 09, 2005

Grin like an idiot.

Confession: I posted a Missed Connection on Craigslist last week. After this irritating and creepy incident, I was sitting in the park sulking when a stranger walked by and smiled at me for no particular reason. It was the sort of smile of which I heartily approve (vaguely friendly, undemanding, not suspiciously overenthusiastic), and it was followed by the considerate gesture of walking 30 feet past me before stopping to light a cigarette. My day thus improved, I went back to the office and composed a post which said, in summary, "[time] [location] [description] [gratitude for lack of smoke] [gratitude for smile]." I posted it with the warm fuzzy certainty that it would never ever be read by the person described, but it might add a tiny bit of kindly and innocent sentiment to a generally cynical and desperate posting board.

Today I received a response from, I can only assume, the smiler. It said, approximately, my girlfriend showed me your post, it was flattering, thanks. By the way, my name is....


For some reason I find that incredibly hilarious.

Posted by dianna at 03:55 PM

Hunter's Nob.

I've realized recently that after five years of living in the bay area, I don't know my way around San Francisco. I know that there are neighborhoods with names like Richmond and Western Addition, but I have no clue where they are in relation to anything else. I can just about manage to find the Financial District, which is the geographical equivalent of finding one's ass with both hands. Yesterday I tried to remedy this by poring over a Google map, Wikipedia's excellent article on San Francisco neighborhoods, and this slightly vague but quite helpful area map. The resulting increase in geographical understanding has shed a considerable amount of light on something which I'm now going to use as an excuse to tell one of my favorite stories.

About four years ago I bought myself a ticket to a Dashboard Confessional show in the city. I was going alone with no car, but it looked on paper like an easy walk from the BART station to the venue, so I wrote down some directions and headed out. Five minutes from BART I found myself lost: which way was I supposed to turn on this street? I didn't know any of the landmarks or the streets I was supposed to pass, so I wandered back and forth for a while worrying and finally decided to ask someone.

Let me explain something here. This was the height of my androgynous indie-punk phase, and I was dressed as follows: battered dirty work pants sprouting wallet chains in all directions, cuffs rolled up to show battered dirty boots covered in duct tape, and one of my many messy, short, awkward home haircuts. It was raining. I was damp, bedraggled, and hunched over in my hoodie which, I will admit, had a pair of crossed pistols on the front under the words "Drink, Smoke, Fight!"

Let all of this not distract you from the fact that I was a girl alone at night in an unfamiliar city, lost. Certainly that fact was foremost in my mind, and it made up most of the reason that I spent so long hemming and hawing before actually daring to try to talk to someone. I picked a woman walking alone, figuring she wouldn't hurt me, and approached her. "Excuse me?" I asked, "um, excuse me?" She walked away as fast as she could without looking at me, and I trailed to a stop with my mouth agape. Bu-- wha-- meh? Didn't she realize I was a harmless dork trying to go see a whiny guy play an acoustic guitar?

On later consideration it of course made perfect sense; I wouldn't have stopped to talk to some aimless scruffy punk boy either. But it also would have made more immediate sense to me if I'd been aware that the neighborhood in which I was wandering was pretty much smack in the middle of the Tenderloin. It's for the better, I think, that I got a ride home that night instead of trying to find my way back to BART. Just a thought.

Posted by dianna at 10:45 AM

March 05, 2005

To my dear sinister.

(sing slow, low, dirge-style)
Death, destruction and despair,
People dying everywhere,
Happy biiiirthday
Happy biiiirthday
Now that you're the age you are,
Your demise cannot be far,
Happy biiiirthday
Happy biiiirthday

Whatever your plans are for today, I hope they involve feeding your burgeoning donut addiction.

Love, your dealer.

Posted by dianna at 03:07 PM

March 04, 2005

Qwx: New class offered in Berkeley!

Drum Unison for Absolute Beginners
Fridays 7-10 pm; no prior rhythmic experience needed.

Bring your own percussion instrument. Any kind will do! We'll learn one basic rhythm at each session; lesson will be followed by a 2.5 hour group practice session. By 10:00 you'll have mastered the evening's pattern well enough to play it in near-passable unison with the rest of the group. Play it loudly! Play it proudly! The neighbors won't mind!

Sessions held in The House Next Door. Convenient location near Ashby BART and F, 15 bus lines. Please call for directions.

Posted by dianna at 11:07 PM

March 02, 2005


I nearly slapped a tiny, amiable elderly man today. Why? Because it was the second time I'd passed him shuffling down Church Street. The first time, he smiled broadly at me and held out his hand as though offering a handshake. It seemed reasonably charming. When I put out my hand to shake his, he instead grasped my hand firmly and asked me, still smiling broadly, where I was going. I had to pull away hard to get him to let go, and I walked away thoroughly unnerved. Today he approached me again, smiling, asking me where I was going and holding out his hand. I didn't want him deciding to accompany me to the park, and the hell I was going to get my hand grabbed again, so I gave him a brusque, "To lunch. No. Bye." with my hands out of reach and stomped on down the street. Half a block later I turned to look behind me and saw him shuffling gradually in my direction, but he must have given up at some point because I didn't see him at the park or on my way back to the office.

Lesson? Twofold. One, creepiness comes in all shapes and sizes, including three times my age and half my size with twinkly eyes. Two, and this one's really important, my hands belong to me. Access to them is granted on an as-desired basis and, also really important, the desire in question is mine. You wanting to touch me does not constitute grounds for doing so unless I share the inclination. You can call me a weird frigid antisocial bitch if you'd like, but do it from at least two feet away. Thanks. Ugh.

Posted by dianna at 02:12 PM

March 01, 2005

He who poisons the river, his fortress will fall.

My awesome language skills will not help me speak Architectese.

Architect: Did you move the details for this project?
Me: No. I only moved bulletins, RFIs and sketches.
Architect: Well, do you remember where you put them?
Me (suspiciously): Are you talking about the details?
Architect: Yes.
Me: I didn't put them anywhere, because I didn't move them.
Architect: Can you find them?
Me (thinking hard): I don't think I've ever seen anything called details for this project.
Architect: Find them.
Me: Details? You're totally sure that's what you're looking for?
Architect: Yeah. I need them.
Me (trying one last approach): What exactly are they labelled?
Architect: Sketches.

Posted by dianna at 09:20 AM