Tags: od friends

Iroh slurpy noodles

A Small Personal Excursion Following a Long Professional Stay: A Trip-lette

I joined LiveJournal in 2005, but before that, I was on another site, which is where I met Amy (etherealclarity), one of my oldest online friends. One time I called her and sang songs about cheese to cheer her up. I think that was her. I meant every cheese I sang; I just forgot who I sang it to. In any case, she got sent over here for training for a new job, so we finally got to meet after nine years! I'm going to be ethereally clear about these gerunds.
  • picking Amy up from Acqua in Mill Valley on Thursday and driving her across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • going up and down the San Francisco hills
  • singing along to "Barrel of a Gun" and discussing the masturbation interpretation
  • gorging on inexpensive but tasty sushi at Tokyo Express
  • grabbing gelato (cookies and cream for me and butter pecan for her) from Melt in Westfield
  • running into Chris and his boyfriend on 5th as they were on their way to Equus
  • brazenly standing in the lobby of the Off-Market Theater building even though the sign said ABSOLUTELY NO STANDING IN THE LOBBY
  • hugging Megan and Melissa, whom I recognized, but not hugging Cat's friend Clare, whom I thought looked familiar but did not recognize even though, according to her, we had met like six times, including at some mythical rooftop party
  • sitting in the front row with Clare as she and Amy played with their smartphones and bonded over the fact that they both met their boyfriends online
  • laughing like mad at Ménage-À-Plot: A Surf-N-Turf Adventure, which featured Cat in a gorilla suit, Ashley in a tutu and chimp mask, Charles as a super-douche, Leigh as a ridiculous spy, and Jennifer as a pretentious food critic—names that mean nothing to you, I know, but I've acquired many theatre friends this year
  • insisting that as the host, it was my job to entertain her, not the other way around
  • playing a cutthroat game of Back to the Future: The Card Game in which I changed Amy's identity to screw her over but instead ended up giving her the advantage, although I still managed to eke out a win
  • getting an early start Friday morning and heading into the city, where we grabbed breakfast at Boudin on Market—a bagel with Philadelphia cream cheese I had to put on myself for me and a Diet Coke for her
  • taking the City Scapes and Public Places walking tour, which did not feature as many colorful stories as Gold Rush City but did show us cool rooftop gardens, Egyptian Hermes, an old phone booth, asparagus-adorned obelisks, ornate banks, and the awesome steampunk vault in the basement of Wells Fargo
  • embarking on the Mission Tour, which today began at Pancho Villa, where Amy got an "amazing" vegetarian burrito with magically spiced rice
  • discovering a new mural in Clarion Alley and posing with it
  • seeing a mural-in-progress and watching the artist work
  • hitting up Thrift Town to browse the used CDs and finding a bunch of Carmen Sandiego games for Windows 95 and grabbing the Angelfish CD for fifty cents
  • pointing out the many murals in the Mission so that the shutterbug could do her thing
  • actually going inside the Women's Building for the first time and discovering that it is indeed about women being awesome
  • waiting in line at Tartine for a while before we noticed a sign that said they were sold out of bread so Amy could not have her precious sourdough
  • waiting in line at Bi-Rite for a little while before I got pumpkin and cookies and cream and Amy got brown sugar with ginger-caramel swirl, which she seemed to kinda like
  • creeping Amy out with the unicorn in Paxton Gate
  • failing to get Amy mopped at the pirate store because I had to use the restroom and she had to call her boyfriend, whom I finally talked to for a few minutes after having had a few online interactions here and there over the years
  • convincing Amy to buy Rosemary and Rue and World War Z (since they were sold out of Feed) in addition to the Coraline and YA fantasy book she was already getting at Borderlands, endangering the spatial limitations of her carry-on luggage
  • running into Julia at the Borderlands Cafe and chatting for a while
  • using our fifty-cent coupons from our Borderlands purchases to buy tea (her) and raspberry limeade (me) to drink on the way
  • not telling Amy why I was taking her on the Westin St. Francis elevator until it started going up
  • taking a few trips up and down in an attempt to get this picture
  • stopping in a tourist-y shop to get a magnet but not finding one that truly encapsulated the un-tourist-y San Francisco experience I had given her, settling on one that featured the Golden Gate Bridge, which we did drive on
  • going to Genova Deli for dinner since she had declared that she liked sandwiches
  • sharing my excellent musical taste courtesy of Smellerbee on our way to Concord
  • leaving Amy in the lobby with Ron at Under the Studios while I got set up in the light booth
  • not screwing up my light and sound cues during Picasso at the Lapin Agile, giving Amy a double-dose of theatre after not having seen a play since Nunsense, which she had blocked out of her memory, preferring to believe that the last show she'd seen was Avenue Q
  • introducing Amy to Fringe because when she asked what the show was about, I could only reply that it was about...being awesome
  • getting an early start Saturday morning and having breakfast at Gaylord's on Mrs. Pac-Man, I with an almond croissant and cafe mocha and she with a bagel with non-Philadelphia cream cheese she had to put on herself and Diet Coke
  • taking Amy to Dr. Comics so she could buy Back to the Future for herself and Stoner Fluxx for her boyfriend
  • hugging Amy one final time at the airport after a couple days of very good hugs and sending her off back to Maryland
Vincent? Is that you?

It's About Bunnies!

If Doctor Strange: The Oath and/or The Losers are relevant to your interests, you should check out my post from late Friday night.

Now I present yesterday's Adventure in Facebook. The set-up: remember this bunny guy on BART from last weekend? Remember Amy, whom I met at Heidi's out-of-debt party in January? You don't have to; that's why I have links. Anyway, let's get to it. I've edited out the less relevant portions of the conversation.
Amy is thinking of tattoos involving bunnies.

Me: I rode BART with a guy with a bunny tattoo the other day. He was wearing a bunny hat. And carrying a plush carrot. And reading Watership Down.

I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

Amy's Friend: Was he talking to a friend named Harvey?

Me: No, but his name was Levy.

Amy's Friend: Okay, this is weird and off-topic, but I think you know (of?) my ex-boyfriend. The internet is definitely as weird a place as BART.

Me: No way! That was your ex-boyfriend? He also had a stuffed giraffe in his bag, among other things. And he said he worked at T & A. That is wild.

Amy's Friend: Yeah, once you said, "Levy," I realized it had to be him!

Amy: Waaaaaaait wait wait wait. Sunil saw a guy on bart with a rabbit tattoo, and all that other stuff, and it was [my friend]'s ex-boyfriend??!?!?

Me: Exactly, Amy. I love the Internet.

Amy: WOW
Officially best story ever?!
As a bonus, Amy's friend also knows caitriona80!! Through the same channel I do, even.

I'm not even sure what the odds are, here. Lesson learned: one man's single-serving BART friend is another girl's ex-boyfriend.
Narrate like whoa

Labor Day, Labor Evening

Most of you are not familiar with Katy (starfyer), but she is a longtime friend of mine from my pre-LJ days. We met in person six years ago on a grad school visit to Madison, but we had not seen each other since. And then she got married and decided to honeymoon in San Francisco! This is why I like living here: people come here. She and her new husband, Joey, wanted me to show them around a bit, so I met them in the Mission for my traditional whirlwind tour. If you've been reading my journal for a good length of time, you pretty much know what we did!

After the initial hug and handshake, I took them to Taqueria El Toro. The Wisconsinites were very impressed with our San Francisco burritos, and I enjoyed my quesadilla. Then, of course, I showed them my favorite alley, which I have finally discovered is not just some random thing but the Clarion Alley Mural Project. Next was Bi-Rite, where I made sure to get cookies and cream to see if it was better than Emack and Bolio's (it was—cookies and cream should taste like cookies and cream, not cream with some cookies in it). We walked past Dolores Park as Joey fell in love with the salted caramel.

As I hoped, Joey was a big fan of Paxton Gate. Katy seemed creeped out by most of it. Next was the pirate store, and the girl working the counter commented on my shirt, confusing me at first because I always forget what I'm wearing. I was wearing my "I'm famous on the Internet" shirt.

"What part of the Internet? North?"
"Northeast."
"I'll have to look you up next time I'm there."

I tried to get them mopped, but the girl didn't have very good aim. She was still pretty entertaining, though, and Katy and Joey enjoyed the pirate store, as everyone does.

Finally, I took Katy to Borderlands to buy Seanan's book. I asked if they had any copies left, and they still had the two signed copies from Saturday, so Katy snagged one. She also got them to order a book written by a blogger she read, which was cool of them.

We pet Ripley the hairless cat in the back. A girl had come in because of the "Yes, the cats are in" sign and had Ripley on her lap. Ripley, the hairless cat with hair (she'd had chemo). She had hair where she wasn't supposed to! The girl also commented on my shirt.

"Why are you famous on the Internet? For having hair where you're not supposed to?"
"No, I'm not sure I'd want to be famous for that. I'm not really famous anymore, anyway. No one knows who I am."
"If you don't mind my asking, what are you famous for, really?"
"I did stuff for Veronica Mars fandom."

After a very successful Mission tour, we had to get a picture together, so we went back to Clarion Alley and posed with a mural. Katy and Joey thanked me for showing them around; Joey preferred the down-and-dirty Mission to the fancy downtown area. I left them to Union Square, hoping they found the great glass elevators in the Westin St. Francis.

A little while after I got home, Rick (ellric) came over so I could show him the insane glory that is Shoot 'Em Up. He enjoyed it quite a bit! I would say more, but I have a full capsule review already written for the next movie post.

We went back to his place so I could show him and Lisa (danea) their very first Bollywood movie, Let's Dance...which starred a childhood friend of mine. I thought it would be really weird, but it was surprisingly less weird than expected. Turns out she's a good actress! She acts as well as any of the other heroines I've seen. Also, the fact that she was speaking Hindi most of the time prevented some cognitive dissonance, but it was weird to hear her speak Hindi-accented English when that's not how she normally speaks. I already knew she was a great dancer, so seeing her dance on film was like seeing her in her element. But it was still a little weird. The movie had more of a plot than I expected, given that it was a dance movie, but it was a very predictable plot. At the end, they dance a kid out of a coma. Seriously. I hope the movie gets her noticed so she can be in a better Bollywood flick with real stars!

"I have to say," said Rick, "your friend is hot."

I was a poor cultural translator for Lisa. I couldn't even remember how much a lakh was. It's not a thousand or ten thousand but a hundred thousand. Which makes more sense. I am a terrible Indian.
Side-five

And One Big Bed Is All We Need

This being the last day of the course, it was the time to frantically hand out business cards. I ran out and had to dig into the reserves in my wallet. It figures that it was only at the end of the course that I made some real connections with some of my other coursemates, who were interested in my drug safety background. Also, I met a couple women from a Bay Area company who knew Molly, whom I'd met last year.

It was an excellent course, and I recommend it! To...you guys who would never take it.

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Words and feet

Buffista F2F: Seattle Edition, Part I: The Five People I Met in Seattle

So remember that time three years ago when I wrote about the Buffista F2F? No, you probably don't. But that's why I link! Since these posts are like the sequel! Every year, the Buffistas descend upon an unsuspecting city and rock out, and this year, we gathered in Seattle. Which, luckily, contained other people I wanted to see, so it was all sorts of fun.

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Next time on Buffista F2F: Seattle Edition—Everyone dies! No, wait. Everyone lies! No, that's not it. Everyone has pies? Maybe no one has pies. The only way to find out is to tune in!
Ben diary

25 Things I Did on My Summer Vacation, by spectralbovine

It's the "25 Things" meme that's taken Facebook by storm! I feel that I must share them with you as well because you know me better. Or do you even know me at all?

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You can sing along

You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies

Thanks to a training course in project management, I am once again in Arizona. Phoenix, specifically. Which meant that I could see Cory (shpyum) again! And, as a bonus, I could finally meet sterope, who, like Mara, knows me from the Old Days. And, as a double bonus, she could get us into the Phoenix Art Museum for free! And, to my surprise, it was totally worth visiting. Follow me inside the cut!

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Cylons = gods

Only the Gods Are Real

A long time ago, corbeau, Neil Gaiman fangirl that she is, sent me a copy of Neverwhere. I really liked it, but I didn't love it. I think I was looking for more of an explanation of what was going on, although I enjoyed the fantastical adventures.

I can't remember whether I read Good Omens before or after that, but I also found myself disappointingly underwhelmed after all the hype. Again, I really liked it, but I didn't love it, as much as I wanted to.

Last year, I finally read The Sandman, which was fucking amazing overall even though there were lots of little things that didn't work entirely for me.

I also read Smoke and Mirrors, a collection of short stories, about half of which I really liked and half of which left me vaguely confused, I think.

Last month, I read Stardust, which was pretty good but not as satisfying as I had wanted it to be.

I felt bad because I thought I was the kind of person who should totally love Neil Gaiman, but his work seemed to be very hit-or-almost-hit-but-not-quite-goddammit for me.

And then I started reading American Gods, which has won like every award known to man. I was immediately thrown before I even began when jeeperstseepers informed me that it was a very serious book. I had thought it was something quite whimsical, the premise being that gods are real and living in America. How silly! Zeus is a gas station attendant! Ra sells sunglasses! Hoo hoo! I thought it was like that. But no. Mostly.

The basic premise is that gods are real and living in America. All the gods, from all the cultures, they were all brought here in the minds and beliefs and customs and traditions of the men and women who form this melting pot. It's a great idea. Even better is the fact that there's an imminent war between the old gods and the new gods, the upstarts of technology, representatives of the Internet, television, cars, and everything else the modern age worships.

Stuck in the middle is a man named Shadow, just released from jail and enlisted for services by a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday. If you're up on your Norse mythology, you have a good idea who he really is.

Of course, the delicious thing about this book is that Gaiman really did his fucking homework, and you won't recognize half the gods without Wikipedia. He steals from a variety of mythologies and religions; as far as I can tell, the only gods he made up are the modern ones. All the other figures who make appearances can be found somewhere. They live in our collective consciousness.

For the first 400 pages or so, I will admit I was wary. While there was a plot, it was rather thin and mostly seemed to consist of Shadow meeting god after god after god, how cute. I enjoyed it all well enough, but I was afraid it would all be pointless. There were constant mentions of the coming storm, and I really wanted to get to the damn storm. Around the 400-page mark, however, some earlier characters made return appearances, and I began to get the sense that setup mode had ended and now we were moving into the payoff section of the book.

(Note: about ten to fifteen percent of the book doesn't really pay off, and it's just there for flavor. At the ends of most chapters, Gaiman provides an interlude spotlighting a god, and he does it because he is a storyteller who loves telling stories, and I love that about him.)

By the end of the book, I discovered that I retroactively liked everything better. I know you're supposed to appreciate the journey and not the destination, but the destination sounded so cool I really wanted to get to it, and when I finally reached the destination, I appreciated the journey a whole lot more. It's completely weird because I recognized quite a few things at the end that normally bug me about Gaiman but instead totally worked for me in this book. Somehow, he made me buy it all. The sum trumped the parts.

American Gods really makes you think about the power and nature of belief (much like Hogfather), especially the way it works in America. It gives you a very cool perspective on the country, the wacky country that formed a strong personality out of everyone else's.

American Gods is the first Gaiman work I have really loved since Sandman, unexpected as that love would have seemed at some times. It's a rich tapestry of dreams and mythologies and belief systems and cultures, like America itself.
Narrate like whoa

Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Backwards Down the Stream

It was a weekend so wild it could not be written about until Wednesday! Whoa!

This just in: it is now Thursday.

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