Tuesday, July 24, 2012


 There is something about hand-painted signs that I love so very much.

 Last Wednesday morning I sat in the window alcove of the Pork Store Cafe on Haight Street. It was a bittersweet morning but then, departures tend to be bittersweet, don't they? We three sat around at a last brunch sort of thing for a friend and I tried hard to not be jealous that I wasn't the one leaving. Because that's usually how it goes. Usually I'm the one leaving, and it was a reversal that I wasn't particularly fond of.

But then, I don't usually drink coffee either. You can't really sit at a greasy spoon and not drink coffee.

 There's something obviously nostalgic about a good diner. I always feel like the scene unfolding before me needs to be written down. And let's be honest, it's probably been written down a hundred times before. But I tend to get the same feeling sitting there that I get when I read Steinbeck. It's the reflection in the malt machine behind the counter at the Golden Poppy (Sweet Thursday, page 166, Penguin Classics, 2008 ed.) and it's Ella sweeping up the crumbs under the counter stools (p 28). Something about it always feels like 6:30 in the morning, when you're up for work but there's nowhere you need to be anytime soon.

 And the best thing about a good diner is that it feels the same every time, everywhere. And even if it's not, I'm sure my mind creates it to be. Expected is comfortable. (It's the same reason that I love airport Starbucks: no matter where in the world you are, every Starbucks is the same. And even though you're off looking for adventure, it's always nice to see a familiar face.) And it's always comfortably the same. The food is always deliciously similar, there always seems to be light streaming in from the windows. The coffee always has the same weak constitution and even the people tend to be exactly what you expect. The cooks in their white jackets and hairnets (and checkered pants, if you're lucky) tend to be the kind of hard men who, away from the controlled chaos that is their jobs, do actually smile. The tend to holler at each other over the sizzle and the din. The waitresses (because they tend to be waitresses) always tend to either be young, middle aged or old, and they always very obviously fall into one of those three categories. And they all always tend to be the usual mix of sweet and cynical, weaving as they do between the sticky tables with the orange handled coffee pot. The regulars always seem to be the same crusty types that tend to occupy the end stools at the diner in the morning and the bar at night. It doesn't matter if you're in San Francisco or just off Route 66 in the middle of the country. It doesn't matter if you are 19 or 89, if you're sitting hunched over a place of eggs at the counter of a diner, you look like a crusty old regular.

 And somehow it is always Sunday morning at a diner. It's the smell of bacon and hash browns frying and golden oldies crackling over the loud speaker. Comfortable and familiar, warm and cozy.

And that's a pretty accurate description of how I feel about hand painted signs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mood Music

In an entirely expected way, I have found myself once again obsessed with a particular song. 

I've written before about the evolution of a radio song and my tendency towards fixation on certain songs. About how I hear them and then leave a tab with the youtube video of the song open on my browser for the next three weeks and then listen to the song eight to ten three or four times a day. But you know what? I know that (much like John Lennon) I am not the only one. We all know what it's like to find a song that perfectly compliments whatever the current flavor of life we happen to be living. 
Right now for me, that song is this song:

Who says that musicals are wrong? Apparently people do break out into song while walking down the street. 

And it's perfect. It's perfect for the mid-summer lull and moments of bittersweet contemplation. It fits my mood and it fits the weather, which has flowed between a peaceful and lazy sunny and a cozy foggy (though admittedly I'd be happier if I could be wearing shorts and a t-shirt like she is). It is the kind of song that should be in the background while you sit at a cafe and be creative or cook in the middle of the afternoon in a kitchen that is clean and bright, and it's the kind of song that you want enveloping you in iPod isolation as you ride the bus to work and watch the people flash by.

I love the original, and it's a go-to when I'm applying my war-paint for a night out. But this acoustic cover? It's just the song to listen to while I while away my currently zen days day dreaming.


An Unneeded Explanation

I am technologically inept. Sometimes I joke that I'm a luddite; that's not entirely true, but it feels like it sometimes. Especially when both of my parents are social media mavens and I'm still not entirely sure what this whole "twitter" thing is or why the pound sign has suddenly become one of the most-used keys on a standard keyboard. Sorry, hash tag. See? Technologically inept. 
I mean, I can Google it like the best of them and sometimes even figure out how to do the things that the cool kids do on the internets. And I often do because I am so ridiculously controlling. I spent three hours trying to figure out how to use conditional formulas in Google spreadsheets so that putting an "x" in one box on my to-do list, like so:

This is the part where you type an 'x' into the box.
You have to do SOMEthings manually...

would result in a strike-through of the words in the previous box. 

Like so. You know, what it would look like 
if Google didn't hate me. 

I figured it would be a simple "if/then" conditional formatting formula like the ones I learned in 7th grade computer class. Turns out it's not. Turns out you can't do the that in Google spreadsheets and it pisses me off to no end.
I can get that shit centered, and outlined and show only the parts of the spreadsheet that look like a To-Do list (I can even screen shot things and put informative red arrows next to them before adding them into my blog), but I can't get the x to strike-through the previous box. The majority of those three hours was spent digging deeper into forums looking for the one tech-savvy saint who had cracked through the binds of Google docs and could deliver to me the freedom to format my online documents EXACTLY the way I wished them to be formatted. Turns out, no such guy. But such is my tenacity. (and/or mule-like stubbornness.)

So then defeated, I complained about it to everyone who didn't care and who wouldn't listen. 

This is all a long-winded way of voicing my frustration that you can't switch the primary email address for a blogger account and I don't want to a) start a whole new blog or b) have to log out of my current Google account/internet life and log back into the annoyingly cryptic email account that I created when I was 16. Because when you are 16 you didn't realize just how minutely intertwined your virtual life and your real life would come and so it seems like a good idea to create an email address that has nothing to do with your name and everything to do with your inexplicable love of airplanes, women's history and poker. Because that'll look good on a resume someday. Facial piercings I can own in a job interview, a perplexing and solidly teenage email address? No coming back from that.

And so to sum it all up, there are now two authors for this blog.  They have different profiles and follow different blogs, but they are both me. I hope that's not confusing. (More than that, I hope you don't actually care. Because if you did, that would worry me.) Wish I could have merged the two but Blogger seems to think that is a horribly unreasonable request.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's about time

Good lord. It has been a hot second, hasn't it? 

I did that thing where I got settled in to a new life, didn't think it much to comment on and/or found myself incredibly busy being incredibly awesome. Then time passed, as time is wont to do, and I started to become stressed by the lack of blog posting in my life. And THEN I'd find myself angry about the stress, which would continue to keep me from posting, just out of spite. Then I got embarrassed by the excruciatingly long time lapse and just couldn't bring myself to return. 
Just kidding. Those last three things didn't happen. I just got caught up in the inertia of not posting. 

But now I'm back! Don't worry, I'm still incredibly busy being incredibly awesome, I just decided it's time to re-start the effort to find my 15 minutes of fame via the internet. Usually at this juncture I would just start a new blog. 

There is something rather wonderful about a blank page full of possibilities. 

However, I've become attached to this one, and it's awkwardly long title. Besides, we have a bit of a history, this blog and I. I've told some good stories, if I do say so myself. Besides, I never decided that life was no longer an adventure to be lived (catch that double negative there?). And there are still stories that deserve to be told. 

 Don't worry, it's all part of my Newest Grand Plan