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Vincent Van Go-f**k Yourself.

May. 17th, 2019 | 10:23 pm

What I will call you if you make me attempt wall painting. Oh, and this is a Friday Five.

1. Has your house been renovated?
My childhood home was, several times. And houses I've lived in since (all rentals) were prior to me moving in. The most haphazardly done one was where I lived from summer 2008 to summer 2009, but man, did that house have character. And reading back in that tag, I am pretty impressed by how many DIY fixes I made during that move-in and while I lived there, even knowing I would most likely be there just for a year. And I already linked to a bunch of old entries, but THIS is the entry that best captures the essence that was 2111 West Knox Street.

2. Have you ever painted a room?
Many. I hated it every time and will gladly hire pros to do it for me.

3. Have you ever put in a new floor in a house?
Not myself, but when I was like 11 or 12 my father ripped out our living room carpet and put in the tile that is still there today. It looked like a shit ton of work. He led all the aforementioned home renovations, including what I originally thought this question meant: adding a second level to that house. That was an epic renovation to live through.

4. Have you ever worked with wallpaper?
Nope! Not my thing. Despite hating the application of wall paint, it works for me.

5. Have you ever choose [sic] new colors for your flat or house?
I don't think so? Not that I remember, anyway. Our blue accent wall was already here in this apartment, and I like it enough that we've kept it. Pretty much everywhere I lived before this had off-white or beige/tan-ish colors that were practical enough to keep.

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Block the exits and you're out of The Planners' Cult!

May. 12th, 2019 | 04:10 pm

San Francisco, Part 3.

Long gap since I resumed the chronicle of this trip, but back we go!

After three days, I learned the Ferry Building's best angles.

Sunday started with yet another run (I haven't been this prolific at any other point in 2019, before or since) along the waterfront, then stopping at Philz for coffee and a breakfast burrito. Amazingly I showered and made it to Moscone by 8:30 for our morning of sessions. They were productive and interesting, but from there I had a free slot for lunch; I walked a bit aimlessly and ended up at the market where I'd bought rosé, where they had some decent-looking sushi options. Took those back to my room and caught up on emails and texts (including planning for the afternoon/evening!) while eating, then back in the box for the afternoon.

Another oddity seen on my run. No idea.

I did in fact learn some fascinating stuff as an audience member during all those sessions, which I ought to share a bit of here. One Sunday panel was intended to tout the organization's credential, and while I have heard all about it before, this one at least offered the real life pursuit of it from two people that took two completely different routes to get there. The second panelist would more closely meet my story (not going for this straightaway from grad school), but what she really put forth was the idea that if this is something I do every day, I should invest to get more value out of it anyway. A good kick in the career pants!

Super cool mural in the Mission. Had trouble getting a better photo with the sun's direction, though.

Also, I'd mentioned previously that we were being constantly chided by moderators* for overfilling session rooms and sitting in aisles, and that came to a head on Sunday morning. One of the most popular sessions (because it's one of the best opportunities for credentialed members to get their required continuing ed credit in "Ethics") is the org reviewing real but anonymized ethics complaint cases they have dealt with over the last year, and they can be somewhat juicy** besides.

Palate-cleansing swan. Marina District.

Anyhow, despite getting there on time all seats were filled so I sat on the floor at an awkward angle, looking at the dais directly from one side. Anyone that arrived after me got even worse seats and by the middle of the session the aisle on my side of the room had people sitting two across on the floor. With that, the Moscone staff started removing people blocking the exits, and the org sent a push notification on the app not to stand in aisles or sit on the floor. Inevitably people were grumbling about it in the hallways all that day, but it isn't that simple, because there is no way to know how many of 6,400 people are going to attend a single 90-minute event over four days, and we all saw plenty of sessions that were half-empty despite being at peak times.

Wrath of the fire marshal invoked!

Once done for the day, I went to Target for more snacks and was reminded that it was Sunday because the place was mobbed (including with dogs?), then I returned it all to my teeny hotel room fridge and went off to have drinks in SOMA with Jason Ru.! I wasn't sure if SF really did Sunday Funday*** but this was our best common availability during my trip, so we gave it a go. First was Powerhouse, during most of which we did our conversation catchups.

Sounds like he is very much loving California, including his job and friend group here. Next was Hole in the Wall, where we struck up a random conversation with a guy in a stability boot, mostly about how he injured himself. Didn't stay that long there, LOL. Finally we went to The Eagle, which really was the center of Sunday Funday and had a grand time there; finally we got amazing burgers at a place of his recommendation, then went our separate ways. Only a 14-hour day this time, ha.

My burger is hidden under all that green stuff. More food pics coming in future posts.

*I did moderate a session last year, and with unexpected IT issues cropping up then, I can appreciate that it's challenging when duties like this end up in your lap!

**Unfortunately, our local chapter was the topic of one of the cases, which I know only by connecting the dots about a sudden vacancy in our board and the details of a sexual harassment shared at the conference. :|

***DC does far too much Sunday day drinking, so that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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Yes, occasionally I do professionally develop.

Apr. 24th, 2019 | 10:35 pm

San Francisco, Part 2.

Best font in town.

Picking back up from last time, I managed to maximize my time while in town but that came partially at the expense of sleep. This was Saturday, and I basically repeated my run of the prior morning, except that it was a tad colder and I hadn't packed the best running gear for the climate. Still, I wove through side streets a bit on the way back and got some lovely photos, at least!

The only tourist that woke up at 0700.

I showered and got into decent clothing, then it was time for the conference to start. The opening keynoter was way more popular than anticipated and I listened while sitting on the floor in a side corridor; this would later recur as an unintentionally hilarious theme. He was great, though! From there I got a tub of iced coffee and went back for more sessions, during which time Tracy, Katharine, Tara, and I got a group text going. While waiting for the session just before lunch, I struck up conversation with a planner for the City of SF that was immediately next to me, and we had enough time to go beyond the usual pleasantries. I have her card now, should I decide to give up DC and flee to the West Coast, hah. After the session (which included ex-LJ erJames!) some of us agreed to meet at a salad place that was quite mobbed, but I met a planner from Oregon and saw Greg B. in line! Then Tara and I caught up a bit when I finally got my lunch, before walking back for more sessions.

Model cow cares not for your urban forestry.

After a wardrobe change to a shade more casual, I went back to meet Tara and Katharine for the opening reception, which was typically heavy on students snookering free wine and otherwise not super special. We did stick around and chat with a handful of people, though! After our own wine was done, we took the BART to the Mission to try a newish ramen place for dinner. It both had a table open and was delightful, so we must call that a win.

Spicy ramen comes in the RED bowl.

We then walked down to a cocktail bar and met Dave! He is now engaged, and his fiance Libby was also a delight. Plus they brought their dog! We caught up in a near-shout* for a while, and it was mostly idle conversation about SF and planning. Until! We discovered in the process that her high school best friend went to college with me! Not only that, but he was the antagonist to my now boyfriend's heroic leadership of the on-campus queer group at the time. Read all about it in our student newspaper whose archives are still online! That was a very strange but amusing conversation, and again showed that American kids from similar age and education cohorts inhabit a pretty small world. Whether the other folks at the table got the similarity I was unsure about, but we did have smashing cocktails all around!

With Katharine, Tara, and Tracy in front of the magical letters

From there I took a Lyft back to the hotel and my 15-hour day was complete.

*Is your fearless protagonist finally getting tired of bars? Maybe!

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It's Friday, why are you behind a laptop?

Apr. 21st, 2019 | 03:07 pm

San Francisco, Part 1.

Kaplan Lane

Rewinding* back to Thursday the 11th, uncharacteristically, I had packed diligently and was ready to go by the evening before. The unfortunate thing was that I still had a work deadline to contend with, so I made it to the airport and through security early, got an iced coffee, and started banging out the copy editing and formatting I needed to do. We boarded on time, I got wifi in the flight, and kept going; ditto after we deboarded and I had to hunt for an open seat near an outlet** in O'Hare to finish it out. Luckily, I got it all done and was able to inhale a burrito and then read my newest library hold on the next flight. Our flight was also delayed by ~45 minutes, allowing me a little break from the pace. And other than one call, I was then done with work for the duration.

I gathered my suitcase, then got on to BART and into the city from there. My hotel was perfectly lovely and well located, then I showered and went out to the Castro to meet Kevin A. at Moby Dick. We had a few drinks, then went over to meet his friends Vaughn and Scott at The Edge, which was also prepping to show Drag Race. I made it about halfway through the ep before I needed rest and foooood, so took a Lyft back to my hotel and ordered Thai delivery.

Fundraising for ALC with the giant vodka bottle

After fiddling with the hotel room thermostat extensively, I managed a good night of sleep and got up for a run on Friday morning. The waterfront views are hard to beat, and would be excellent exercise motivation over the whole trip.

This ol' thing was five blocks from my hotel.

After I returned and showered, I had some downtime to get my room organized and be horrified at the content of daytime TV. Over some leftover Thai food, I participated in the one call that work needed me for, the monthly planning for our LGBTQ group; it was a damn good thing I was there, because no one else that has been working on the global Pride event for late June dialed in. Now I at least feel mildly important. From there I went to the market to pick up rosé and snacks, then took a Lyft to Dolores Park to meet up with Kevin, Vaughn, Scott, and friends again. The weather was a perfectly lovely mid-70s and clear. Thank you weather gods, for that, and we listened to music and bitched and people watched. This was the precise opposite vibe of the frantic work of 24 hours prior, and I needed it.

Life is hard.

Eventually I walked all the way back to the hotel, had some decent Mexican food for dinner, and went to bed. I'll pick up the next entry there, because thematically that fits.

* Not going to backdate these entries, as they depict time not that long ago.
** Time for work to buy me an Admiral's Club membership, right?

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A Friday Five to brush off the dust.

Apr. 19th, 2019 | 10:57 pm

Dusty is my LJ's default state.

Back from San Francisco since Wednesday night, but haven't had much time to focus on blogging. I do have a large pile of photos and stories! Until I get back to that, here's a Friday Five, since I neglected to do these for almost a year:

1. Did you enjoy your senior year of high school?
Sure. I had finally recovered from the (literally) sophomoric dramas of leaving one friend group behind for another earlier in HS, was on good terms with everyone, and obsessed with the college application process.

2. Did you have a senior trip (high school) and were you able to go on it.
This was not a thing in my hometown. However, our Math/Science Academic Bowl chose 75 kids statewide to go to Orlando for a week every year, and I was one of them my senior year. That was a pretty swell trip, and I chose which college to go to right before it, like literally signed the letter and mailed it with the deposit check as my parents dropped me off. So I had that huge relief on top of the excitement of the trip.

3. Was graduating (from either high school or college/university) a big thing with your family or just another day?
Huge. OMG. We had an enormous barbecue after the ceremony, complete with photo ops with everyone. Then I went to several of my friends' parties and got drunk in an alley, LOL.

4. What were you looking forward to the most after graduating from either high school or college/university?
Definitely going to college and being independent-ish.

5. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your graduating self?
You're pretty much right in your judgments of who has your back and who doesn't. Trust those instincts.

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Back to using the office elevators.

Apr. 7th, 2019 | 07:32 pm

But I'm still appropriately terrified of becoming stuck in one for an entire weekend.

Definitely needed a good weekend after all of the toiling of the last week, and got one! On Friday I drove B to work, then met Blake and Nasser at Duplex. I had a steak salad, we bitched over drinks, and watched whatever movies were on at the time. It was a perfectly lovely and low-key evening. Then Rich and Ben G. came in and it just became a whiskey whirlwind, LOL. Patrick B. also stopped in and we had some good catchups. We stuck around with Sarah as she closed up the bar, then walked down to Larry's where, rather unexpectedly, I didn't leave until 3! Thankful for that steak salad to keep me going.

Yesterday I went running, as the weather was pretty much perfect for it: upper 60s but not too sunny. Then I managed to shower, eat some chicken breast, and get out to JR's for David J.'s birthday! He had quite a group assembled, and we got to watch an obscene amount of show tunes videos while having beers, before Lajuan, David, and I went to Stoney's for dinner. And despite the madness of the many people watching the Final Four, Howie was our server and the food came super quickly! Then I went home from there, a much earlier evening than Friday, and emptied the dishwasher when B got home to rant about the closing bartender and his ... subpar performance that is hurting the tip pool. After he had the opportunity to get through the venting, we finished the night by watching SNL* and other random television.

Today was pretty low key, too. I took B back to work, then went to the ATM and to Trader Joe's on a long leisurely walk. Warmer today, but still ok if I wasn't running. Now while my dinner is in the oven I've had some time to read and digest news, I really enjoyed this essay on parents of private school kids in LA feeling entitled to college admissions slots of their choice. It's a savage world, and I am pretty glad to neither be attempting to apply to colleges or have any family members doing the same at this point. Maybe this sting will eventually represent a turnaround into better admissions integrity, I don't know.

*Hard to believe this is still on. Can we just spin off Weekend Update and cancel the rest? I'm sure all the cast members could get new jobs.

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Cabin in the North Arlington.

Mar. 21st, 2019 | 10:51 pm

It's a pretty low-budget flick; we couldn't afford a whole original title.

Ann Arbor, February 2010
Running through my photo archive. Ann Arbor, February 2010.

I have mostly recovered from the transition to DST, as reported in my last entry, but there are still twinges of feeling super groggy and confused when I wake up in the mornings. The very gray overcast skies of today didn't help this morning, but I got by.

The week's highlight so far was that Aaron B. was in town, so we arranged to have dinner with him at Espita. The food was super amazing, and we got caught up on what we do and don't need to do during his wedding weekend in July. It'll be the first time in Wisconsin for either B or me! Then we went to DIK Bar, surprised Brett with Aaron's presence, and generally heard about her new car, which officially allows her to move to Woodbridge when her lease is up. Changes!

Much to my chagrin, the library does a big purge of their collection every year in the late February to early March window and takes a bunch of my wish list items with it. In both 2018 and 2019 they also purged exactly one book that I had already requested a hold on. Given the space they take up and the existence of e-books, I get that they need to remove older/less popular titles from the collection to make way for new stuff, but I would think they'd at least let the stuff in hold queues go through? Whatever. It would be easier for me if I had some way to know what the removed wishlist titles even were, but they just suddenly appear as "this item was not found" error messages with no identifying information.

And to close out this rant, I also get and am fine with the fact that many discarded titles are donated to the Friends of the Library to be sold cheaply for fundraising purposes. But that does not help me find specific titles either, because the FotL sell their wares at many different branches across the city and there is no way to search for their inventory as it's strictly a browsing situation. So to turn this into a solution, once I saw my recent hold wasn't coming, I immediately ordered it on Amazon and will soon have it forever.

Last night's monthly grocery shop was eventful. We first stopped at the liquor store, necessitating a different route, but got through the trip and the shopping all fine. The only random items out of stock were limes (?) and B's preferred espresso. By the time we were being rung up, it was almost 10 pm so we abandoned the idea of cooking that night and went to KFC. Also an apt occasion as yesterday was the 89th anniversary of it first being opened. Anyhow, since we last did this >2 years ago the old KFC near the supermarket was turned into a Dunkin Donuts! The next nearest one seemed close enough but was on the other side of 66, and took seemingly forever to get to through all of the lights. When we pulled up it appeared to be closed, but their hours indicated they still had ~25 minutes to go. After awkwardly waiting in the dark drive-thru lane for a minute the staff did appear and took our order! In gratitude we added nuggets on to our order. While our order was being assembled I joked to B that this felt like a scene early in a horror movie, waiting in the dark alongside an unfamiliar building because the restaurant was mysteriously moved a few miles down the road. There was even a second car that eventually pulled up behind us and we remarked that this was definitely the next scene in the movie where we were relieved to see another human but it turns out to be the murderer. :)

Fortunately we didn't get stabbed to death or dipped in a fryer! And made it home just fine to enjoy our late-night fried chicken. Work was a flash today, I powered through a bunch of tasks and barely even remember them. In theory I could be doing more of them tonight, especially my 2019 "performance plan" that is imminently due, but I didn't pack a charger and my laptop is nearly dead. LJ sucked up all the power, and I'm fine with that.

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Excellent daylight to do my reaping.

Mar. 15th, 2019 | 11:33 pm

Too bad I'm not a farmer.

Daylight Saving Time really messed me up this year, and I'm not sure why the change was so much more difficult for me or even different from any prior year. I overslept at least two out of four days between Monday and Thursday, then struggled to catch up at work. I ended up taking today as a vacation day to help me reset and because I have 27 (!) total* leave days for this calendar year and had only taken 0.5 until now. I'm saving many of those days for the various weddings and other trips we'll be doing later this year, as well as to have a nice cushion if I want to take much of December as time off.

On the traveling note we decided to make Aaron's wedding in Wisconsin in July into a long-ish road trip. We will be spending roughly a week leisurely driving there with stops along the way, and leisurely driving back along a different route with same intent. Show us your best gay bars, steakhouses, museums, and kitschy roadside attractions, the Upper Midwest!

Other than that, it wasn't a hugely eventful week. I settled into my new desk as reported in the last entry, and my desk neighbors there are a healthier and moderately less disruptive mix for me. Still going to take some time to get comfortable there, but I will deal. Last night Blake and I watched the ACC Tournament at Nellie's, where the darts league was having their championship night so we squeezed into a tiny portion of the upstairs and watched. I did get to have a more leisurely day, sleeping late then getting up for coffee and to read the news. Most of my news reading was devoted to the New Mexico Legislature, who will wrap their long session tomorrow and are thus in a marathon to finish their business for the year. I went to the gym around 3, picked up a Sweetgreen bowl on the way back, then tonight I went to Nine for happy hour with David and Lajuan, primarily to hear about their budding plans to see Kelly Clarkson in Baltimore tomorrow night. Still have a full weekend ahead, with few if any plans!

*I have maxed out my accrual and my rollover from a prior year, hence the generous pile of leave days.

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Up to five different desk assignments at this company.

Mar. 6th, 2019 | 10:37 pm
mood: nerdynerdy

After ten I get a gold-plated Aeron chair.

One pocket of shade. Baton Rouge, LA.

I am temporarily back in the groove of updating LJ! As you may have noticed. No sense in how long this will last but I am going with it for now. It's a bit disappointing that I lost three active friends in 2018 that are all friends-only when this blog fell into a lull, but perhaps they will return me to their lists now that I am back at it. Either way, I still have all of you, loyal readers.

Since our office suite is imminently expanding to include an adjacent empty suite on our floor, yesterday we got to choose new desks. I am going to be back on the sunny, south-facing side of the building again, albeit in a new-to-us part of the floor. Until mid-2016 my team was on that side of the office, then the small org that subleased a few desks from us moved out and we took over their spaces. In the current reconfiguration, we are also getting a second mini-kitchen installed, which is close to my new desk. My hope is this means I won't have to jockey with everyone in the existing kitchen for fridge space. Tentative move-in day is Friday. I should probably start packing up my photos, paper files, etc. tomorrow, because I'm slotted to move before noon and also have meetings on that day.

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If I order potatoes and vodka, does it count as a theme brunch?

Feb. 26th, 2019 | 12:38 pm

Deep shallow thoughts.

Aside from the confirmation of upcoming events and travel, here's what actually happened over the weekend!

Friday we finally reached the finale of the current RuPaul's Drag Race season at Trade. The crowds were not too terrible, and we assembled a deep crew of Josh M., Chris, Andrew, Taylor, Josh B.*, Brandon, Ben, Cameron, and Eliot. Following up from that, Andrew had started an unwieldy 12-person group chat for all of us in Snapchat, where Chris floated the idea of Sunday brunch, and actually made it happen! He was able to get a reservation at Lincoln, which was super convenient for Andrew and I. Their buffet didn't look very impressive so we ordered from the menu and I was pleased with steak and eggs. There was even a hash brown disc supporting the whole thing that I apparently didn't see in the menu listing.

After that we wandered to Slipstream to get coffees and sat in Logan Circle with them to people watch. Almost spring and it feels like it! We then went to Trade for a quick round of drinks, nothing too nutty. I was home in time to put two loads of laundry in and order some Qdoba for delivery to watch with the Oscars. And after all the (real) controversy about Kevin Hart not being fit to host and the (fake) controversy of what it would be like to have a hostless show, I didn't really notice. Having Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph give a little intro at the start in place of a monologue and Julia Roberts to close it out was really sufficient. And given that I saw exactly zero of the actual films up for awards, I had very little stake in the outcomes. :) I do, however, intend to jump on Crazy Rich Asians and The Favourite when they become available on demand.

Apropos of nothing else, my federal tax refund is in, and the DC refund is in process and expected soon. That has also helped with my budgeting and planning for the year.

*Again, Americans: we need a larger pool of baby names.

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