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So last week I made an appointment at Kaiser to get a vaccine booster shot down in Fresno. I would be there for the Thanksgiving holiday, and appointments down there were more available than up in the Bay Area (maybe this has something to do with their much lower population vaccination rates…). Unfortunately when I arrived for my “appointment” on time, I found a 15 minute line to check-in, after which there was a 30-45min line to actually get the shot, and then the 15 minute waiting period of observation. I don’t swear often here but fuuuuck that. So I left. But not before making a minor ass of myself in public by trying to tell one of the poor, busy staff members that I was not pleased with this line-even-though-I-made-an-appointment BS and I was leaving.
It was a shitty thing to do and I’m not proud of it. I had some reasonable intentions (I really did actually feel bad that I was just bailing on an appointment I’d made and wanted to tell someone that I was, and why), but there was no way to actually create a good outcome and I should have just left. I spent the next 30 minutes wishing I could get in touch with that poor Kaiser staff member and apologize. But we all do things we’re not proud of sometimes, and we hopefully learn something from it.
On the bright side I had made the Kaiser appointment only after getting one later in the week back in Oakland. Basically just trying to get it as soon as I could. So I showed-up for that on Thursday the 2nd at an Oakland Colors location in a church, and after about 15 mins in line, I had my shot, and within about 30 I was out of there. We do it right in the Bay Area and we have the vaccination numbers to prove it!
When I came back from Fresno, I had left my cat alone for a few days. She was well fed and had water, but she’s a social critter and clearly missed me. She forgave me quicker this time, but that first day back she was a little clingy (which is certainly adorable, if occasionally inconvenient). This is me meditating on the first morning after I returned, and normally she just sits next to me on the couch while I do it, but she just couldn’t stay away this time.
I had some interesting things come up in my real estate job this week. We’re trying to close a couple of donations before the end of the year, and it has gotten a bit intense in the final weeks here. Frankly I feel like the way real estate transfers work is all way more complicated than it needs to be. The result of a hodgepodge of systems, a refusal to integrate them even across a state (much less a country), and a resulting large number of middlemen who add little except to massage the intervening bureaucracies and navigate the twisted network of regulations on your behalf. This could all be done by computers in 1/100th the time and for minimal expense. But… here we are.
Anyway, as I was saying, it’s gotten a bit intense. A couple of particular things complicated these transactions, though. One led to the other: some recent changes to our entity operating agreements which were intended to actually simplify things and make signing and authorizing transactions like property sales actually easier than they used to be. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding in the process of drafting the entity amendments, we actually ended up with changes that mean more people need to sign, not less. And one of those people is me. That’s complication and stressor number 2.
You see, at 42 years old and heading-up a real estate business, I somehow still have a terrible and seldom-the-same-twice signature. So I honestly dread getting documents notarized. I’ve actually had notaries hassle me before about “signing the way my ID looks”, and while it has always worked out in the end, I still find it quite stressful at times. Fortunately it went smoothly this time, a very friendly easygoing mobile notary agent, my signatures were OK-ish, and it was done in 15 minutes. As to the borked entity amendments, well sometimes you have to test things in action to see their problems. We’re getting the revisions revised soon.
I’m not a very quick TV watcher. I seldom binge shows, usually I watch maybe an episode every night or two, and I’m often in catch-up mode. I did make it through Game of Thrones (even if I maybe wish I hadn’t sometimes), and I’m caught-up on Stranger Things, but other than that I’m way behind culturally (as far as TV goes anyway). I haven’t watched The Office or The Wire, much less The Sopranos, and I’m sure there are many other “The” shows to see before I even get to Breaking Bad, etc. That said, not all these shows are for me. But if there’s one show I’ve had consistently recommended to me for years now it’s Parks and Recreation, AKA Parks and Rec. The only thing was everyone said don’t bother with Season 1. Fair enough, so when I started to watch it recently, I began with Season 2.
The problem is… Leslie Knope is super annoying and dumb! And everyone keeps doing incredibly stupid things. Leslie keeps trusting Tom even though he’s clearly an a-hole and incompetent. People keep trusting Leslie with their secrets even though she is terrrrrible at keeping secrets. Is this why it’s supposed to be funny? It’s not really working for me. And then there’s poor Jerry. They’re absurdly mean to him for basically no reason. Frankly I’m really done with the office punching bag trope. I watched through 30 Rock a little while before this, at least Lutz was a genuine oddball worthy of some ridicule… I guess. But the whole treatment of that character was needlessly shaming still. (Ironically if you look up “30 Rock Characters”, Lutz is listed 4th from the last out of some 50, he’s just ahead of Salma Hayek’s character that I think was in maybe 2 episodes; Lutz was in most of them ). Anyway, Jerry is treated terribly for what reasons I can’t determine (maybe explained in Season 1?), it doesn’t even make sense.
But I digress. I’m just not that into shows where all the characters are absurdly dumb and lacking in self-awareness. Definitely there are redeeming moments, for the show and for individual characters. Leslie is endearing sometimes. Andy and April’s will-they, won’t-they is fun. Trying to figure out if Ann and Mark’s relationship is totally normal and fine, or weird and bad. That’s fun too, hah. And heck, I do love Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson… OK, damn, this is turning into a rant, that was not my intention. My point is, the show hasn’t sold me yet. I just finished season 2 though and it looks like Rob Lowe and Adam Scott’s oddball and oddly charming characters will return, so that should be good. I’m cautiously optimistic about season 3, so we’ll see. But with 7 seasons and so damn many other shows to possibly watch, I’m not going to give it long to win me over…
I haven’t been journaling long enough to properly chronicle my struggles in the garden with my neighbor’s bamboo. I feel incapable of properly communicating the trials and tribulations I’ve gone through and the feeling of quite honestly impotent rage (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration ) I sometimes feel at seeing massive, healthy bamboo shoots pushing through the soil in random patches of my garden not long after I thought I cleared every bit of it away. We’ve gone through the entire garden plot with a ditch witch, not a rototiller but a goddamn chainsaw made for the ground, because that’s what it took to get through the bamboo roots. But we did it. Bamboo don’t care though, it just shoots some more inch-thick roots out through all the soil like it’s nothing. They’ll be back in a month.
Anyway, I’m tired of it. And I think I have a new plan that might just take care of the problem, finally: give up. Well, sort of. Basically we have a ~10x20 patch of dirt (that we had trucked-in to improve the soil!) that is directly against the fence, across which the neighbors have a 50 ft tall stand of healthy, full-size bamboo. This stuff is insanely robust and invasive. Like I said, you clear it all out, and it’s back within a month. So I think the only way to beat it is just to get rid of all the dirt. Yep, my plan is to turn the garden into a sitting area. There’s already a big, annoying bougainvillea there to provide some shade, and I think it would actually make a better sitting space than a garden. There is in fact no other great area for hanging out in currently, other places are either in the way, or too out-of-the way, or have other issues. So I want to clear out the dirt, thus giving the bamboo no place to go.
And what about a place to plant? Well, some raised beds are the solution. Bamboo won’t be able to get in. I can grow whatever I want, in a contained environment, and bonus the gophers will have a harder time, and I can move them around seasonally if I want to, to catch the sun better, etc. Best of all, we built a whole, elaborate structure of netting last year to try to keep the pests away, and it was only partially effective. With raised beds I can much more easily enclose them entirely, while still maintaining access, and truly keep the pests, including the squirrels, out. I think this will actually be an improvement in many respects, aside from just avoiding the bamboo. So I’m excited to try it out.
My various info capture systems are almost always in a state of slow flux. Fortunately there is a general degree of core stability (currently this orients primarily around Obsidian, with a bit of Quip and Notion on the edges). But there are always rough edges. Lately I’ve been running into frustrations with mobile capture. Obsidian has a surprisingly great mobile app, but it’s still not great for capturing websites I want to check out or file away somewhere. Partly this is because I ultimately want some of those in Notion, where I organize e.g. cocktail recipes (in good part because of the database features that Obsidian mostly lacks). There are other misc. reasons, some of which I could solve. But I don’t yet see a really good solution that works quite the way I want. Possibly Readwise is the thing to look at, and I’m eagerly anticipating their in-beta Reader app, so I already have a subscription and I should just give it a try… In the meantime I waste time opening sites in my mobile browser tabs then, once a month or so, manually transferring them to my desktop browser and filing them. Not great.
At last my sofa saga comes to a… well, not middle, but not end either. Basically I got my order in, the model I want, the color I want, all that. And now it’ll just take 6-8 weeks to build it! So I should have my new sofa, finally, some time in the early part of 2022. In the meantime I have a perfectly serviceable loaner of the same style, so I can reasonably start looking for coffee tables and other accessories, and having small get-togethers as well (which is about half the point of getting a new sofa). I just invited a few people over for mid-December, my first little gathering in a looong time. I’m excited!
I matched with a woman on OKCupid recently and was surprised to discover how interesting she was to talk to. Eclectic taste, far-ranging conversation, raising deep topics I hadn’t thought about for years (Daniel Quinn and the collapse of civilization - hot stuff! ). Why was I surprised? Well, it’s not that people in general are not interesting to talk to in-person, but I do find it quite rare that chats actually get much depth in the tiny messaging windows provided by all major dating apps now. Even OKCupid has minimized theirs across mobile and desktop, in the latter case for no good reason except to make long-form conversation difficult. Nonetheless we are both persevering, which is part of what feels special. Anyway, I’m very intrigued, which doesn’t happen that often. Still, part of me can’t help feeling that it’s too good to be true in some way. I think to some degree this is just a part of me trying to protect myself from disappointment. But there are also other little reasons to be unsure. Is this person for real, are the a catfish, etc. (if they are it’s a really well-done and elaborate one!) So I’m a little bit waiting for the other shoe to drop. We’ll see…
I got pretty into the pop-up food scene in the last 6 months or so. The pandemic has pushed a lot of people to either find side gigs when they lost their main food industry jobs, or pursue their dream if they weren’t already in the industry. Often this has been through cottage food businesses, and especially lots of pastries and ice cream. This is amazing stuff and some of the creativity on display is absolutely incredible and making me wonder why we didn’t see such unique stuff in pastry cases long before. Well, hopefully we will one day, but in the meantime, who cares, we have it in popup form! The only problem is it seems the best time for many of these people to sell their goods is on weekends, and that means major FOMO for food lovers of a certain persuasion… like me. Most weekends I try to limit myself to getting things from just 1 vendor, or at least I’ll try to share if I get a lot.
This past weekend though, nobody was available to share, and 3 amazing popups were happening, all with delicious and unique-sounding things: Mochikoubou, A Pie in the Sky, and Bloom’s End. So I said hell with it and went to all 3 on Saturday and managed to fit 2 mochis, a slice of pie, and 3 pastries into my body in one 16hr period! It was… a lot. And very delicious! Was it worth it? Prossibly. Prossibly. Not sure I’d do it again, but then I’ve done similar things a couple times before, so… the time will most likely come again. Still I much prefer to have people to share things with and just try a bite or two of each item.
I do know I’ll be going back for that mochi. It was the first time I had it (the other two I’m more of a regular at), and it is really delicious and unique stuff. Mochi is one of my favorite textures in the world, but I’m not the biggest fan of some of the traditional flavors it often comes in (and while the ice cream versions are good, I don’t feel they do the mochi itself enough justice). What’s notable about Mochikoubou is that they make a lot of really unique and international flavors, tiramisu, caramel, chestnut, mont blanc, raspberry, and many more, pulling flavors from a variety of cultures and often embodying them in delicious, light, but rich mousse, encased in the perfectly chewy, stretchy mochi. It’s heavenly. Watch their Instagram for what flavors are coming up next!