Monday, May 30, 2005

things are looking up

posting about less than wonderful occurences in my life has taught me a new lesson. don't write about things online that worry your friends and family. while i greatly appreciate the concern expressed by lizardo and some other dear ones, please, rest assured that i am doing better than when i last posted

on that note, i have decided to write very little about anything serious and will instead highlight a blog i recently stumbled upon. i'll also give you all a little insight into what i have been eating lately. i do this because i know you care.

and BLOGGER JUST STOLE MY post again...

in my frustration and sleepiness i will not tell you about the deliciousness of creme fraiche pancakes at la note in downtown berkeley. although my dad's breakfast conconctions take the proverbial cake these are a close second. likewise, i won't tell you all about the wonders of thai temple brunch in front of the berkeley tool lending library. you'll never get to hear about just how phenomenal mango sticky rice is on a sunday morning.

what you, dear reader, will get is just one link to a blog that inspired all of these aborted gustatory reflections. eat your heart out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Dirtina and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day"

my day started off relatively well. stress-free commute. sunshine.
even at lunch things were going all right. one pesky pigeon kept trying to get a piece of my chicken sandwich but other than that it was actually pretty swell. it even closed with gelato. can't complain.
shortly after this little lunch it went seriously down hill.

i feel totally and stressfully swamped at work.
i hit my head (really hard) on my desk when i bent over to pick up the code books that had just fallen from my shelf, on to the table, and on to the floor, nearly spilling my coffee all over my work.
as a result of this mishap my head hurts. in addition to the attractive bump on my forehead, i spent awhile sobbing on the phone with my mom later (related primarily to other events see infra) and now have dried out and bleary eyes as a nice accessory for the forehead fashion.
i came home exhausted to find that my key doesn't work in the deadbolt. i was locked out.
i waited for the locksmith freezing, hungry, and badly needing to pee for about 40 minutes.
my partner (and not the one at the law firm - the one known as jdm) has mono.
one of my great-uncles died.

so here i am whining, when things are actually much worse for other folks and people i love.
i hate feeling like my mood is on a sinking, downward spiral.

i want to go to bed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Are you there God? It's me, Dirtina.

Ever since my early days in college my aunt has provided me with an annual subscription to Vogue. It's a wonderful gift as it's truly the gift that keeps on giving: it arrives every month, and so far, without fail. It's also an improbable gift for a girl like me. I'm no fashionista. I shop the sales rack, or Goodwill. The only time I've come close to touching anything couture-esque was when I tried on a fetching Marc Jacobs miniskirt at Century 21. I balked at the skirt's $90 price tag and settled instead for the (now infamous) G-unit camisole. In any event, my monthly mag is a lovely guilty pleasure.

Today on my commute home from work I was paging through Vogue and came across a surprising ad. Random House Publishing is sponsoring a contest to promote what appears to be the reissuing of the entire Judy Blume canon. For starters, this is a weird advertisement for Vogue. It's definitely something of an outsider in a magazine that is chock-full of Prada, Tiffanys, and Cadillac. It reads at the top "ARE YOU PART OF GENERATION BLUME?" After some glowing reviews of Blume's books it explains that "one grand-prize winner will win a trip to have lunch with Judy Blume." The contest entails writing a 250-word essay on which Judy Blume book had the biggest impact on your life and how it affected you.

I had never considered myself to be a member of "Generation Blume." I was more of a Laura Ingalls Wilder, Encyclopedia Brown, Anastasia Krupnick, and Madeleine L'Engle fan. However, looking back on the Blume memories I do have, a few were somewhat formative. I read "Deenie" when bored one day at my grandparents' house as a preteen. It was, bizarrely, the only book I could find in their house that wasn't on Orthodox theology or WWII. It actually seemed pretty adult to me then since it addressed scoliosis and masturbation. As a younger kid I also recall reading, but not really enjoying, the Superfudge books. The only Blume book that spoke to me was "Are you there God? It's me Margaret?" The first time I read it I was unimpressed. Then, as a first year at Chicago my roommate decided to hold storytime every night with some of our favorite housemates. Our literary choice was none other than "Are you there God?" It was a hit. Irreverent and nostalgic, we filled our evenings with the trauma of bra-stuffing in place of Calculus and stupid dating drama.

Thank you Vogue, thank you Random House and thank you Judy B for this unexpected trip down memory lane. Perhaps if I find time (which I would have more of if Blogger would stop eating my posts) I'll enter this little contest. I could use a free trip to NYC.

[Note: Hallelujah - I'm back on wireless. Procrastination and posting - here I come.]

Thursday, May 19, 2005

CLASS: the OC and being a summer associate

tonight's season ending episode of the OC was totally insane. without giving too much away, suffice it to say, that in the real world, for what marissa cooper just did she would likely end up in the California Youth Authority. fortunately for her, she's richer than rich and will surely buy herself out of doing any time. of course she'll be represented by sandy and things will turn out fine. maybe somehow she'll prevail on an unlikely but successful "defense of third persons" theory. other theories, including battering and its effects, seem like longshots and the prosecution could probably rip them to shreds. hopefully, sandy's near certain defense of marissa will bring him back to the public defenders office. then the OC at Boalt's fellowship, "The Sandy," might inspire even more attention and donations.

reflecting on the romances between sandy and kiki, caleb and julie, and ryan and marissa (and marissa and DJ for that matter) brought me to a recent series of articles in the NYT. the series is on class and thus far (i've only skimmed) but i've found it compelling. the suggested readings are also quite good - i highly recommend the biting and humorous Paul Fussell book "Class: A Guide Through American Status Systems."

although the OC does a relatively wretched job problematizing notions of class and especially race (see e.g., the only roles which people of color have played being teenage mother and high school dropout, gardener, highschool principal [as somewhat of an outlier], and as of tonight, drug dealers), it is perhaps quite accurate that such issues are swept under the rug on a routine basis. from the most recent NYT piece on cross-class marriages:

Marriages that cross class boundaries may not present as obvious a set of challenges as those that cross the lines of race or nationality. But in a quiet way, people who marry across class lines are also moving outside their comfort zones, into the uncharted territory of partners with a different level of wealth and education, and often, a different set of assumptions about things like manners, food, child-rearing, gift-giving and how to spend vacations. In cross-class marriages, one partner will usually have more money, more options and, almost inevitably, more power in the relationship.

It is not possible to say how many cross-class marriages there are. But to the extent that education serves as a proxy for class, they seem to be declining. Even as more people marry across racial and religious lines, often to partners who match them closely in other respects, fewer are choosing partners with a different level of education. While most of those marriages used to involve men marrying women with less education, studies have found, lately that pattern has flipped, so that by 2000, the majority involved women, like Ms. Woolner, marrying men with less schooling - the combination most likely to end in divorce.

this is both fascinating and sad. class and caste are so entrenched in american society and with the costs of (even) public education skyrocketing, soon yet more people will be priced out of anything beyond a high school education. i may have found a new crusade? all of this (sorry for being so disjointed) also caused me to think a bit about my summer corporate job. without waxing poetic or saying much more - i am a bit uncomfortable with it all. everything is SO nice. i haven't paid for lunch yet whereas last summer it was treat and big expense to buy myself a $2 sandwich. people i've met recently have criticized the (admittedly dirty and run-down) downtown SF greyhound station, on multiple occassions. i find it hard to join in these conversations since that station is home to at least a few of my former clients.

on a lighter note, some of my summer thus far has still been on par with my budget last year at this time. i've slept in a sleeping bag - or on a bare mattress the past three nights, but only because i'm moving. my fridge is busted. i still take the cheap bus. my summer soundtrack tonight includes my roommate packing and listening to sublime. that band, however, is reminiscent not of last summer but of a relationship in 10th grade.

speaking of relationships, i should have spent the time i spent rambling here catching up on emails that have been waiting for responses for weeks. if you are waiting on an email from me, my apologies. next week - i promise i'll work on that task. for now, if you'd like, respond with your reflections on class, your predictions for sandy's defense of marissa, and/or your favorite music from sophomore year of high school.

alive and caffeinated

monday i started my summer job and i've been trying to move all at the same time. it's been hectic. mad props to castro and manceratops for helping me out yesterday. sorry for all the dust. i wish i had free coffee at home instead of a stinky fridge and malfunctioning dryer. the perks of firm life are varied and plentiful. more on that later. anyway, i wanted to let anyone who was looking for new material know that i am still here. soon, i'll be back on a regular basis. perhaps, if i can't sleep i'll even be back soon.

Friday, May 13, 2005

the ULTIMATE commercial

i spent the last couple days tasting wine in the lovely russian river valley near lake sonoma. it was almost too good to be true. it was definitely indulgent, extremely relaxing, and far more chi-chi-la-la than anything i ever anticipated doing at age 23. my roommates and i got all dressed up, we ate amazing homemade tamales, had a cathartic cry at dinner, gorged on olives and cheese, and even listened to surprisingly good radio. it included pat benatar and journey (twice). all was blessed and all was right with the world. the truly amazing thing was that we didn't spend much money. one of my awesome roommates got us a deal at her parents' timeshare so we cooked some meals for ourselves and spent about $10 on lodging. i wish i had one more week of this before starting work.

anyway, although i should probably write about wine, instead i bring you a commercial from "Michelob Ultra". i cannot begin to express how hilarious i find michelob ultra. the fact that they market this BEER as a sports beverage is quite amusing. it seems that they are trying to get their consumers to believe that by drinking their beer they will develop not beer guts but the impeccably tanned and toned "six-packs" featured in their advertisements. the simple gym workouts never spoke to me but now that they've included a ridiculously silly game of ultimate in their ads - i might be persuaded to try this (in all likelihood) foul beverage. note how people are playing ultimate in virtually no clothing which would suck to layout in, note the fouls, the silly showboating, and the fancy and improbable passes. my friend MC putt-putt also pointed out the fact that there was no line call. as if that would happen in ultimate - ever. oh no, people would squabble and moan about the call for a loong time. how i miss this sport.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

i'll have document review and a deposition to go

although i am excited to go shopping today for corporate clothing and i am looking forward to my summer job, i would prefer to spend my money on say, an iPod, sneakers, or non-fancy clothes.

while musing about this i started to think about the benefits of uniforms. while i've never had to wear one, for school or any of my jobs (with the exception of SW Community School where i had to wear their sticky 50-50 t-shirts while teaching candlemaking of all things in horribly humid July), i think uniforms have some distinct advantages. if i could wear a something like a fast food uniform of a polo shirt and ill-fitting pants to work every day this summer i would save even more money. perhaps firms could express their character through their uniforms - it would add in yet another variable to those OCIP bidding decisions.


after a brief blogging hiatus which involved the heart-wrenching editing of a painful 48 hour take-home exam along with healthy doses of chorizo, gelato, and vodk-o (with an "o" it sounds like a Shop-Ko version of the Russian staple or like my lovely "designer" handbag - "Prado") - i am soon to be a 3L. it is good to be done. tomorrow i'm off to the mall and then to wine country for roommate bonding. at some point i will put my life in boxes for the summer and move. hopefully, in the process i will further streamline my earthly possessions. going shopping tomorrow will surely impede my progress on that front.

some links i visited recently which are worthy of checking out:

artmuck (some posts by a childhood friend now located in chicago)
kill the vultures (the newest release by a childhood friend now located in chicago)

and, in case you didn't see this coming - proof that i (sort of) wish i were located in chicago...
note: chicago was my best fit even though i indicated that fitness is important to me (and we all know chi-town is phat, i mean fat) and even when i put the west as my preference instead of the midwest.


American Cities That Best Fit You:

80% Chicago

65% Los Angeles

65% Philadelphia

60% Honolulu

55% New York City

Thursday, May 05, 2005

after school specials

If an episode of the OC ever needed some preachy advice-giving or should have offered episode-ending referrals, it was this one. In my opinion Sandy should have mentioned RAINN and for Kiki's sake Alcoholics Anonymous. I think I'm still experiencing secondary trauma. The episode was so intense. I'd offer you predictions about the next episode but I fear spoiling things for readers who haven't yet seen tonight's show.

In other news, the always wily jdm beat me to the punch but if someone can explain the value of my "blogShares," I'd really appreciate it. I am oddly inspired to do whatever I can to raise this piece of cheese's value.

2 finals down - one (annoyingly two-part) final left to go.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

one year of "care not cash"

today marked the one year anniversary of mayor newsom's "care not cash" program. i happened to catch a glimpse of an article on point in the SF examiner while waiting in line at the post office. later, i picked up my own copy. "notably," the examiner's front page advertised a story about "what's on the mayor's iPod." the short story on care not cash was on page four and unfortunately, critiques of the program were given short shrift. newsom is patting himself on the back for cutting cash aid to SF general assistance recipients and is busily lauding the fact that about 800 GA recipients have been placed in permanent housing.

last i heard, GA rolls post-CNC haddrastically declined. however, the actual statistics do not reveal such a glowing picture of people getting housed. rather, the numbers seem to indicate that in the first six months of CNC's implementation, the department of human services actually lost over half of their "active homeless clients.'' meanwhile, only 493 of the 2,497 clients who were on GA in april 2004 had moved into housing as of october 2004. [to check out these numbers click on the link above and open the "care not cash monthly statistical report - march 2005"].

i think a healthy dose of skepticism is in order when it comes to newsom's policy on homelessness. right now i'm too disheartened to say much more. for more critique see this article.

blogger's "recover post" feature is a LIE

i'm super frustrated right now because blogger promised to recover my lost posts and it failed. boo.

tonight's episode of ANTM was actually quite good. admittedly, i would have been entertained by anything other than my take-home exam which has been staring me down from the face of my normally friendly laptop all day. despite my (generally) low standards for television and in particular UPN, this episode had a lot to offer.

for one thing, the contestant judging contestant feature exposed a lot of character and attitude. the two highlights of the show were brittany's hot mud shot and the fact that christina was finally eliminated. keenyah's snotty 'tude vindicated my general dislike for her. previously, my only real reason for disliking keenyah was her oddly crooked jawline. i, with my doubly-broken nose, am certainly not the right person to call someone out for facial asymmetry. however, i am not trying to become america's next top model. i fail to understand how tyra's silly judges have not recognized her bizarre jawline protrusion. evidence of this phenomenon is all over the internet. see e.g., television without pity, seven caged tigers, girl genius.... i grow weary of compiling citations but offer one "but see" for a short but favorable assessment of keenyah's jaw.

and, in case anyone cares, my bet is that keenyah is next to go. moreover, naima will definitely win now that her personality is shining through and the producers showed photos of her as a little girl. this was just the type of foreshadowing the producers used with eva last season. now if covergirl would just cancel eva's contract i'd be pleased as punch. those "day in the life" commercials are so annoying.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

to drink or not to drink: also some thoughts on "diversity"

i was so wiped out today. over the weekend i studied to a point of exhaustion and overload for my exam yesterday. despite my best efforts to prepare adequately, it was totally and awfully difficult. today my brain was still fried so i ran errands most of the day. i went down to fourth street on my bike which was lovely. i wrapped a present in brown paper. i made a cd filled with songs for moving. i drank a homemade smoothie with pomegranate juice as a super secret and tasty ingredient. i "studied" in north berkeley and borrowed a dollar for coffee from a liquor store employee who, despite his best efforts, did not convince me to drink wine while "preparing for my take-home exam." i had entered the store, cash poor, in search of an ATM thinking that virtually all liquor stores house ATMs along with their selections of fine wine, cheap 40s, courvoisier, jager. some liquor stores even have ATMs which will read and withdraw cash from food stamp EBT cards. sadly, these are the sort of ATMS that also tack on at least three dollar service charges. this liquor store, in contrast to its peers, had no ATMs of any variety. the kind clerk suggested that i purchase some alcohol and get cash back. i declined. he offered to buy me the coffee i so desired and i declined again. finally, i was persuaded to borrow a dollar so long as i would buy the coffee from the small place next door and smuggle it to the larger shop down the street with better seating. this turned out to be excellent advice. the coffee from the tiny shop was both cheaper and more delicious than the joe next door.

my day continued, more or less uneventfully. i'll spare you the details but close with some thoughts from a former RA on university housing. just today i read an article in the "maroon" about one of my many former dormitories. in it, broadview was (somewhat) accurately described as a "insular lunatic themed" dorm. although i agreed with the general characterization of broadview, i can't stand behind the rest of the article which lambasts multicultural housing for enforcing segregation. the author's call for diversity as part of the "college challenge" is all well and good but seems to place an undue burden on students of color to be the token faces of diversity for "stuck-up Manhattan girls." this seems misplaced and would appear to equate all people of color by saying that viewpoints within minority communities are all the same, and that diversity cannot exist among ethnic groups. since these multicultural houses, at cornell and, i believe, at berkeley too, are open to anyone - i can't see a problem with them. if multicultural housing is really going to lead campuses down the path of resegregation, concerned folks like this author can simply move in. for more on this topic look here.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

tatted: from thug to hug life

an old ultimate compatriot once closed his emails with the tag line "hug life: nobody's perfect but we do OK." i was thinking about the origins of the phrase "hug life" and my train of thoughts brought me to Tupac. 2-Pac had some vicious tattoos. my personal favorite was the large "THUG LIFE" tatted across his abs. check out some pictures here and here. i learned from these fine sites that the "I" in "Life" is actually a bullet.

in any event, i've thought about getting a tattoo for a long time. unfortunately, i made the mistake of disclosing my best idea to someone who later returned to show me my tattoo on her cliched ankle. that killed that plan.

with the knowledge that i will never actually get this tattoo i'll disclose a recent idea. (you probably saw this coming.) drawing my inspiration from 2-Pac i'd like to get a huge tattoo on my abs in gothic letters that reads "hug life." that would be beyond hot.