Monday, April 26, 2004

hot, lovely heat

the weather the past two days has been of the sort where you don't quite believe you are in San Francisco anymore. it's not that it never happens, but that it is never there on much of a predicatable basis (other than in late summer).

i've been walking around with languid steps dreaming of swaying hammocks and dappled light under a nice old tree, my clothes soaking up the warmth and bringing it down onto my skin

and as the sun went down, and the fog did not materialize on twin peaks, i realized it was one of the 2 or 3 nights we have a year, where we don't have to put on the extra layer we've carried around all day and instead, head over to Mitchell's ice cream at 10pm and get a nice cup of ice cream.

which is what i did last night with a couple of fine friends last night. This after hanging out at another friends house for a few hours, eating chinese food on her back porch, and sitting in her hot tub for a long glorious soak swapping stories.

all that topped off with a nice walk home in the delicious warmth of a rare san francisco night.


it's hard doing nothing. i sat down a few nights ago when I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed and decided I needed to do nothing for a change. no email, no doodling, no noodling on the guitar, no reading, no watching some tv, just plain old nothing, lying on a couch and letting my thoughts go by.

it was hard. every five minutes i would think of something, and think i should get up and do that. i think i maybe lasted 45 minutes before i gave up.

the thing is my life is so full up that i could live a couple lives and never be finished, but maybe my brain needs a little downtime. my physical body sure as heck does.

then i was thinking ( as I was doing nothing no less -- so long as you consider thinking not an act, anyway ) maybe that's why i enjoy walking so much, because it is the one act where I'm not really doing much other than looking around and walking, and I don't have to actually try and walk. it just happens.

biking and driving have similar effects I think, and maybe that is why in the end they are so important to us. they allow for a time and a space that we don't ordinarily have. of course biking and driving you have mroe concerns -- ie other drivers. and following this thought to a possible conclusion, maybe that's why we are driven to such heights of anger when we are on the road -- our one chance a day ruined by other idiots.

naturally, i don't really think that is the complete answer, but maybe a small part of it at least.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

book reviews

the impressionist: by hari kunzru
a gorgeously written book about the trials and tribulations of Pran: a half indian, half englishman growing up in the early twentieth century. it contains fascinating tidbits of history, and many glimpses about how horribly we treat our fellow man. the tale is mostly told from the point of view of Pran who is passed from life to life, rich, poor, prostitute, servant, student, and so on. the narrative occassionally wanders into the points of views, lives and histories of other characters. this is something that generally annoys me, but it works here mainly on the strength of kunzru's characters who are all pop off the page, and the borderline magical realism of the story. the story could have come across as stilted staged and forced, but it doesn't, it all seems inevitable. well worth a read. the ending does leave me with the feeling that another book is coming about this character however ( although it is by no means a disatisfying ending)

band of brothers, by steven ambrose.
i'd actually reccommend the HBO series over the book. not that the book is bad, it is good, and it fills in some larger details that the TV series can't quite cover. But the TV series does a much better job of telling the emotional story behind the company, and behind some of the characters especially. This is helped a great deal by the interviews with veterans at the beginning of each episode. I'm sure that the show had to change some stories slightly (i noticed a couple small discrepancies in some of the action described), but it actually seemed to have more of individual characters -- two episodes stand out: captain winters charge on a company of SS caught at unawares in Holland (the island of something) and the emotional aftermath, and the story of the battle of the bulge told through the eyes of one of the medics. neither story in its entirety was in the book.

the one thing that did stand out more in the book was language, in particular through the letters of one private, the son of a wealthy family who refused promotions, and never volunteered for anything ( except for the paratroopers that is ), his views on the army, the germans and the war on general i thought were fascinating, and it is almost worth reading the book for that alone.

never ceases to amaze

it never ceases to amaze me how much i don't see on a day to day basis. i hadn't biked to work today because i had left my rain gear at work the night previous, so i walked home tonight after work.

i walked down an alley across from my place of work, and noticed that alley continued on the next block, something I would have sworn it did not do (had anyone ever thought to ask me). i've been through it enough that i should have seen it before, but for some reason... i think it is because i generally only ever drive through it ( i bike it often but in the opposite direction ) and that when i'm driving i'm only ever looking at moving objects.

it was chilly though and i was forced into Old Navy figuring they'd have a decent hat (which i was right about, alas). my first time in there, and hopefully my last. the place and its commercials give me the creeps -- all that manufactured cheerfulness. i was also faintly disturbed by the white, headless, limbless, mannequins, with the belly showing shirts and tops of buttocks.

lapidge st silhouettes

Friday, April 16, 2004

physics is cool

physics is cool. physics are cool. hmmm not sure about that one.

in any case, liz and i recently installed a nice new cabinet in our kitchen. I was not particularly happy about the project -- considering that it meant hanging something large and heavy into which we would put other heavy things in drywall ( well it turns out there was some wood as well).

but miraculously enough it is up (it took us several trys and much consternation, with a few bolts dropped into the wall) and seemingly doing fine. two hollow wall bolts, that's it, and it blows me away each time I think about it.

we tend to think of physics in the day to day as something unatainable, quantum fluctations, probabilities, intense and insane math, but much of our modern world is built on much simpler principles of physics, like the lever and the pully.

yet another project I could embark on, learning all the high school physics that I happily forgot at the time...

Saturday, April 10, 2004


had a great afternoon today with some friends dyeing easter eggs...
The Dye