Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Getting down with the Pacific Ocean

I went for a walk this evening with Cabala. She was responsible for dragging my sorry ass to the beach last summer while we were house-sitting in Oakland. So it shouldn't be surprising that our walk was out along the ocean. Of course this being San Francisco, it was completely fogged in. Rather than making it grey and bleak, it was mysterious and moody. We got to the beach around six o'clock and there were only a few guys with their fishing gear getting set for their evening. We walked down to the end before descending onto the beach. We took off our shoes (don't worry I was wearing my old sneakers) and left them by the wall. Walking down to the water, the beach was littered with these cool looking jellyfish.

I think we past about 12 people and 14 dogs in the hour or so that we walked. Two of those people were in hang gliders. It was fabulous even though I managed to soak my pant cuffs in the water. Of course the muscles in my legs are all happy to have gotten some attention. I brought my camera and left it in the car, thinking that it would be a boring palette with everything a homogeneous grey. I was *so* wrong. While I didn't get a classic color drenched sunset, there were so many things that were begging to be photographed. It is probably this that is the main reason why I am going to do this again.

It's Summertime, get outside!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Wot's this now?

Tuesday was a day of many packages. The woman who works at my storage/mail box place was expecting me as I checked my mail after work. As she opened the door she asked if I wanted to take my stuff in two trips. I had no idea what she meant until I glanced past her into the package room to find that I had one whole shelf of boxes and envelopes. Now I was expecting a few things but I just didn't expect them to all come at the same time. It was in fact, Christmas in July.

First there was the digital camera. Yep, I decided that the old old old Kodak DC50 wasn't cutting it as my only digital camera and the thought of scanning standard photos makes me blue. So I am the proud owner of a spankin' new Canon A70. As a result I will soon be providing photos for you to view here soon.

Next was a cheap memory chip for the camera above.

After that was a free CD and the first issue of a new magazine subscription for Girlfriends.

Then I was pleased to see my mail-order allergy medicine arrived. there is no good reason to pay a higher co-pay if you can get 90 days for the price of one month, right?

Then the last box, the biggest box of them all, was a set of inflatable furniture. In blue. I'm not sure why or who sent this. There was no packing slip in the box. No invoice information on the packing slip. A true mystery package. I did call the place it was shipped from, Sam's Club in Tennessee. I called the number on the return address and explained my situation to the customer service rep who couldn't quite understand why this was a problem. I wanted to reach through the phone and shake him while screaming, "Some one sent me furniture you can blow up. I am almost 37 years old and I really need to know if this is someone important enough to me to explain why this sort of gift is so wrong on so many different levels.

But no, I got no satisfaction. On the bright side, this could be a great gift for someone else. Or else I can make someone's day by having a great garage sale find.

Can you believe it?

Sunday, July 6, 2003

Was this a good idea?

I've been driving around with a dent in the right read fender of my car since April 2002. I've been sad, annoyed, embarrassed, and stubbornly indifferent about it all. Along with those feelings I've been stopped at least a dozen times by complete strangers with offers to take care of the dent. At first I turned them away because I was unemployed and fixing a dent was certainly not worth the cost. Later I dismissed them because I was attempting to defeat the car pride that seems to be an integral part of me. Most recently I would turn them away - Geez, enough already! Go find someone else to pester!

But yesterday I said yes. Partly it was that he said the right things in the right way. But mostly it was a decision I had made to do something, even if it wasn't perfect to deal with that annoying dent hanging over my right shoulder. A co-worker and I have been joking about taking a bathroom plunger to it, since it looked like that was all it would take.

So when I pulled into the car wash stall down the street from my house I said yes. John started out asking for a much higher rate, but was willing to accept the 50 bucks I had in my wallet at the time. He did deliver more than that for me, but the act of repair was more traumatic than I would have imagined.

There are many things in life that you really don't want to see first hand. Some people can't look at needles, but accept them because they are a necessary evil. Other people keep their eyes closed on wild amusement park rides because they are frightened of the heights or speed but still love the exhilaration and excitement the ride brings them. Some people don't watch as their hair is cut, leaving their trust in their stylist to make them look better than they did when they walked into the salon.

I shouldn't have watched. It started off okay. I thought it was going along rather well and was pleased at how much of the dent was coming out with just a few simple tools. Then he got to the complexity of the indentation. Yeah, just look away. You probably don't want to see this either. I was lost in how he was working one side of the dent then the other, shifting over to a secondary section and then back to the first. I could see some parts weren't cooperating. But I wasn't prepared for him to pull out the hammer and screwdriver and bang a bunch of holes right through the metal. I remember thinking, damn the paint is chipping. Like the holes weren't a bigger deal. He didn't hesitate and I gritted my teeth and let him continue because it would look worse if he stopped here.

He kept going, pulling at the dent, adding more holes and more holes. For the Love of Mike! How many more will it take!? Before I knew it he was done. The dent was gone too. All that remained were the bullet holes and chipped paint of my right quarter panel. I thought, If this ends badly I'll just take it somewhere and get it done properly. But he mixed and blended and smoothed on a salve of Bondo and grey primer over my baby's hip. She actually looks better. Better than she did with the dent. She still needs a paint job and if I were feeling particularly masochistic I have John's number and I can call him to do the paint.

I'm going to take it to get it painted in a shop that will cover-up for overspray, sand it down and make it look pretty and shiny like the rest of the car. I don't want to watch it. My jaw is sore. I can't bite down on anything chewy on the right side of my mouth. The muscles in my jaw are still a little tense from this experience. But I'll recover and once I get the new top on the car, it'll look pretty again.

My advice? Turn away, you don't want to watch this.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Lip smacking good

I've managed to misplace my favorite lipstick lipbalm. Certainly there are more pressing things in life, but today I've been all pouty, and not in a good way, about it. A few weeks ago I managed to get across the Bay Bridge into Oakland considerable faster than I expected, like an hour faster. So with my tomatoes doing well I thought I would eye the pretty plants at the good Long's Drugstore on Broadway and 51st. I wandered inside thinking I would see if there was anything I needed. This is when I found the magical balm. It seems that old Burt has been busy as a bee expanding into cosmetics.

Their marketing people will be pleased to know that I was drawn in by the clever names of their lipsticks. I wanted Honesty, but they were all out. My second choice was Willingness. However I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be willing to do. Honesty seemed to be an easier option and less likely to get me into, erm, trouble.

In any case, my Willingness has disappeared. Or perhaps someone else was lured by its, y'know, willingness. This weekend was Pride and Cat came up to visit. In addtion, we had a young visitor who came to stay with me and have Cat and I as his Pride weekend aunties. It was fun having a 14 year old kid around and he reminded me how much I miss Bek's daughter. We did a little shopping in the Castro after having a good breakfast. Then hung around, before setting off to a BBQ at Betty's and the Dyke March. This time we watched them as opposed to being in it. We made friends, exchanged beads with a friendly girl and then met up with our friends. Back for cookies and tea and off to bed.

Since last year's plan worked so well, we set out early for a spot on the parade route. We were running late, but still managed to find a nice place behind 4 older women who were sitting on the curb. With a row of locked newpaper boxes behind we were protected. After the parade, lots of walking around before our guest was tired and ready to catch the next BART train for home.

But we weren't exactly tired yet. So we grabbed some dinner and went to see Matrix Reloaded at the IMAX theatre at the Sony Metreon. Great weekend of the sort that require a week to recover from. So the only thing I was willing to do was sleep.

How is your summer turning out for you?