Friday, August 25, 2006

Score! Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert

At work, an email was sent out to all iTunes employees asking if anyone wanted a free ticket to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert tonight in Oakland. It was very early -- the crack of 12:30 in the afternoon! -- but I called Forrest anyway to wake him up and ask him if he'd like to go to the concert for his birthday. His exact response was, "Fuck yeah!"

So I shot off a reply email, 3 minutes after it had been sent. I was hoping that there would be enough tickets, and enough people who don't have their email client checking once a minute ;), that there would still be tickets available. I mentioned that it was Forrest's birthday in my email.

Lucky I did, too, because Matt (the guy with the tickets) said that although he was initially giving out only one ticket per person, he'd make an exception for my boyfriend's birthday. Sweet!

So, at 8:30 tonight Forrest and I will be at the Oakland Arena, listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert. Who ever said working for a big company was all bad? :)

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Mocha? Put It On My Tab

I had almost broken my mocha habit, when at Borders one day I noticed they had a "Kahlua Mudslide" mocha flavored with Kahlua syrup. I tried it, and got myself hooked. So I'm back on the mocha kick. (Obviously, if I really did want to totally stop having mochas, I could do so. It's mostly that I make fun of myself for getting them as often as I do.)

Yesterday I was supposed to commit my code changes last night, so they'd be in for this morning's build. I was at work until 3 in the morning, when Eclipse up and stopped working on me. So after all that, I finally went to bed without checking in my code. :(

I got to work "early" (read: 9:30 AM) to see if a solution had been found. Indeed, someone had emailed me back this morning with a solution. Happy happy, joy joy. But what I really needed was caffeine. The Apple building across the way has an espresso bar, so I went there to buy a mocha to wake myself up. (My normal morning routine of decaf Lipton's just wasn't going to cut it, especially not psychologically.)

I ordered the mocha, the woman behind the counter made the mocha. I chatted with her about how late I'd beeen at work. She told me how she'd seen someone in her building hard at work before she'd even gotten in (which, she implied, was already early).

I handed her my credit card to pay for the mocha. She shook her head, smiled, and said cash only. Doh! I even knew this, but sleep-deprived and already-forgetful me had forgotten to bring cash. I scrambled to think of how to remedy my cashless state (borrowing from the guy behind me in line, or running back across the street to my building were my solutions). But the woman waved a hand and said, "Don't worry about it. Next time."

I sighed and smiled thankfully at her. "I'll certainly be back again," I assured her. I thanked her again, took my caffeinated goodness, and scampered back to my own building.

I wonder whether my chatting with her beforehand made it more likely that she let me "buy" the mocha on credit? Had I just said, "Small mocha," and silently waited for her to make it, would should have been as nice? She is human, after all.

One of those curious "what if" scenarios.

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Printing My Blog

In case you ever wanted to print something off of my blog, you can now do so while comforted in the knowledge that you will not use up all your blue ink. I've implemented a print stylesheet, which turns things mostly black-and-white (attention-grabbing text and images will still be in color) and throws out the sidebar and Blogger banner entirely.

Happy printing. 'Cause I know you were all just dying to print out my electronic life. :)



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Forrest!

It's Forrest's birthday today! (Technically, yesterday, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so it's still yesterday and thus his birthday is still today. Don't you tell me that's confusing and/or wrong. Not listening!)

We're doing stuff tomorrow, the weekend being a more convenient time to get together. I'm hoping whatever we do doesn't involve Long Island Ice Teas...

So anyway, this is your public "happy birthday," Forrest. *hug*

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Unnutritous Day

I'm watching my calories each day, as I've mentioned. But even on days when I'm under my "limit," it can sometimes be a hollow victory:

Item Calories
half a blueberry scone 230
non-fat no-whip mocha 240
lemon bar 310
no-whip Kahlua mocha 240
Total Calories Consumed 1,020

I didn't go over my allotted 1,225 calories, but then I didn't really have anything nutritious, either. :( So I lose for today. ;)

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why My Personal Blog is Public

My mom doesn't understand why I want to have my diary accessible to the world. Let me take a stab at explaining...

Many people advocate keeping a journal to help deal with life issues. They talk about how sometimes you might feel like you must present a happy, successful facade to the world, never admitting the other half of yourself. So they suggest a private journal, where you don't have to worry about others' judging you.

I worry about unlikely things; stupid, I know, and I'm working on it. Anyway, one such worry growing up was that a friend would discover my journals and laugh at me. To protect myself from my friends'(!) imagined ridicule, in elementary school I devised two simple ciphers to encode my journal entries.

By the end of junior high, my need for encryption had lessened. I worried less about my friends finding my journals in the first place. Furthermore, they were my friends, after all. I should have friends who like me for who I really am, I figured, so I shouldn't feel ashamed or embarassed if they read the thoughts recorded in my journals.

Today, this philosophy has expanded further. I feel that I am challenging my own level of self-acceptance by admitting who I am and what I think and feel in the "public" of the internet. I should be comfortable with myself; given that, what do I have to hide? It's true that sometimes I still grimace as I hit the "Post" button. But so long as I've honestly represented events, myself, and others, I view this as merely an opportunity to push myself to accept reality and myself. It's a test, so to speak.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hit On Already

One of the other books Jacqueline recommended, for wardrobe selection, was The Lucky Shopping Manual by Andrea Linett and Kim France. Not feeling like buying more new books, I headed out to the public library. I read through it (lots of pictures) and felt inspired to find outfits that were more "cute" and less "frump."

So I went to Goodwill, Saturday being 50% Off Day, and picked up some new(-to-me) clothes. Got some nice tops, skirts, pants (including comfy green cargo pants -- I'm getting the nicer clothes in addition to my normal clothes, after all), and a pair of shoes. That accomplished, I realized that at 8:30 PM I'd only eaten a banana all day. Borders has both books and cafe-food, so it was off to Borders.

At Goodwill, I had changed into one of my newly purchased outfits. Nothing terribly unusual, although the shirt and jacket together with the shoes are a touch nicer than the oversized, baggy T-shirts I normally wear with jeans.

Anyhow, at Borders, I was just sitting on the floor reading when this Indian guy walks up to me. He said, "Hi, I just wanted to tell you that you look really cute." I was, understandably, flabbergasted. I thanked him, not knowing what else you're supposed to say in such situations (having not been in many myself). He sat down next to me and we chatted for the next half hour or so, until closing. More accurately, he chatted and I was polite. He came across as at least one of overly confident, desperate, or clueless.

He is originally from India, which is where he claims he was almost killed by a tiger when he was 14. (Thus the strange bumps/marks on his forehead in the sketch I did of him later.) He does yoga. ("Would you like to join me some time?" Heh, thanks, no.) He once came to the rescue of an ex-stripper-girlfriend in LA when she was being harassed by some guys after work. ("I know some martial arts.") He wanted to know where I got my ring -- then didn't seem comfortable with my deprecating it by saying I suspected it was just made of silver solder, being $3 Mexican mercado jewelry and all. He took my right hand to read my lifelines or whatever, then declared very insightfully that I was a reserved, observing sort of person.

We got kicked out of Borders, and he wanted to walk me to my car. I'd parked in the front row of the parking lot, under lights and near other people leaving the bookstore. I didn't know how to politely tell him no, and it didn't seem too risky, so I agreed to let him. So we walked to my car. I opened my car door and was half standing in it, to make it clear that I was just about to leave and not planning on hanging around for another half hour. He wanted to know if I would like to meet him at the local park the next night. He didn't strike me as a particularly dense person, so why was he not acknowledging all the reluctance and polite-shrugging-off-ness that I was doing? I said I didn't think I would, and instead of taking it graciously he asked again, saying he would really like to continue our conversation. I'd already said no politely and didn't feel like just flat out saying "no," so I just didn't say anything.

Then things got creepy. He suddenly leaned toward my neck and sniffed! I instinctively backed away, but was mostly against the car already. He asked me what perfume I was wearing. I insisted that I wasn't wearing anything (which was true). He insisted that he could smell it "even from over here," when he stepped back again. I shrugged. Then he leaned forward again, closer this time. Fed up, I actually pushed him back and said, "Okay, I have to go now."

"So you don't want to meet at the park?" he asked one last time. Perservering bugger. This time I did flatly tell him, "No."

So that was my initially-complimentary, eventually-creepy run-in.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Getting Pretty

People who know me know I'm not the sort of person who goes out and spends a lot of money -- any, really -- on "beauty products." So they may be surprised to hear that I just bought over $40 on such items, plus $20 on a book on the subject.

Some background: Jacqueline, that random woman whose blog I read ;), recently posted a fairly controversial entry basically telling the many men who email her hoping to hook up that she is too "high-quality" for them, and that they should aim a little lower if they hope to get dates. I identify with Jacqueline in some ways (am young, educated, intelligent, independent, and interested in sci-fi and libertarianism), am working to be more similar in others (am watching what I eat, starting to lose weight, getting my "financial shit together," as she says :P), and would like to be more like her in the remaining ways (travel extensively, have cash inflow independent of physical location, volunteer, be more fit -- not just un-overweight, and be more attractive).

What's interesting about Jacqueline is that she says that, during college, she was overweight and dressed like a frumpy geek. Gee, I don't know anyone who might fit such a description... But then she decided she'd rather be attractive than frumpy, did some research, and gave herself a makeover. As you can see from her blog photo, she's not exactly a mud fence.

So, uh, a "friend" of mine -- not me, no siree, a "friend," yeah -- emailed Jacqueline and asked for advice or book recommendations, should I my friend want follow in her footsteps. Amazingly, Jacqueline responded the next day, despite being swamped by new traffic from her aforementioned controversial post. Among other things, she recommended The Beauty Bible by Paula Begoun and The Seduction Mystique by Ginie Sayles.

So I went to Borders and read/skimmed through half the book, culling what information I needed to start on getting rid of blemishes. (The makeup part will come after that.) The "Plan A" attack is the basic, over-the-counter line-up of products, the first thing to try. Hopefully I won't have to resort to Plan B or further down the list. I'd rather not get into prescription territory.

What I like about this book is that the author is very vocal about all the crap marketers try to sell consumers. She also addresses the root causes of zits and matter-of-factly says that if the products you use don't solve the root causes, it doesn't matter what you do to the pimples you have now. They form over weeks (about 3 weeks, she says), so you have to diligently keep up a routine for at least that long before you can reasonably expect to see results.

The first and obvious step is cleansing. "Irritation is bad, mkay?" says the author (although perhaps not quite in those words). Thus, she recommends staying away from anything scented (fragrances are apparently irritating) and using "gentle" cleansers that are liquid. Liquid in particular, because the chemicals that make products solid at room temperature tend to clog pores and just induce more breakouts in people already prone to them.

Apparently there is also bacteria involved with breakouts, which I didn't know about. So step two is disinfecting, with the popular over-the-counter solution being benzoyl peroxide. So I got some of that stuff, too.

Third, an exfoliator to help slough off dead skin cells so they won't go falling into your oily pores and gumming up the works. Bastards. (The author didn't phrase things quite that way, either, but I'm sure that's what she was thinking.) There are many active ingredients that perform this function, but the author recommends salicylic acid (BHA). This also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, which helps negate the irritation inherent in exfoliation.

Each of these steps is to be done in the morning and evening (although if the skin feels noticably dry or tight, you're supposed to cut back on the frequency). Additionally, the author suggests using a "facial mask" only in the evening to absorb excess oil in the skin. I had no idea what milk of magnesia was -- it's a laxative when ingested, but it's also used a facial mask. Weird, but whatever. At least it was the cheapest item, being the only one not in the beauty aisle.

As for why I'm suddenly interested in all this... It's not to attract new men (though unsolicited compliments from strangers is always nice). I have a boyfriend and am perfectly happy, thankyouverymuch. It's more about realizing that I'm 22 and still dress the same as when I was 12. I look around at adult women and I don't feel like I'm a "real" adult myself. I want my checklist of qualities to be as strong as Jacqueline's. I believe I'm capable in bettering myself in just about any area I put my mind to, so why not tackle being fit, healthy, and attractive? Nothing wrong with that.

So that's the latest craziness going on over here. Geeks in skirts, eyeing the makeup aisle. What's the world coming to?

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Last Tuition Payment

Assuming I graduate as planned fall quarter, I've just made my last tuition payment! That is all. :)

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Almost two months ago, I checked out Nutrition for Life from the library. I realized that I was no longer in the upper range of healthy; I had dipped into the lower range of overweight. My dad has lost a lot of weight this past year via a very simple formula: he expends more calories than he consumes. (It's just like the most important money tip, that you should earn more than you spend.)

So I hunted around for an easy-to-use, free website for tracking weight. I settled on My daily allotment is only 1225 calories, so now I'm more conscious of making it count. For example, I've gotten better at avoiding snacking on things that don't make me full but are hundreds of calories. Water and gum are my friends. Soup's good, too.

As you can see from this cute little Sparkline graph, weight I was doing pretty well until I went camping at Tahoe with my family. Then I gained back all the weight I'd lost, plus a bit more. :( That's what happens when you have little choice in the food you eat at meals (communal dinners at camping) and you don't yet have a sense for how many calories are in foods. I've since lost that weight again (not eating much on my backpacking trip certainly helped there).

See we'll see if I can get down to a better, more healthy weight this way.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Book: Blankets

Last night and tonight, I finished the graphic novel Blankets by Craig Thompson. It's his account of his childhood, growing up in a severely religious household, his first love, and disillusionment (with all of the above).

Are graphic novels often autobiographical, or have I just happened to pick up those ones? The other one I read recently was Mom's Canter by Brian Fies, also autobiographical (or at least familial-biographical). I'd recommend both of these books.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Book: Chasing Daylight

The past three evenings after work, I've gone to Borders to read the late Eugene O'Kelly's book, Chasing Daylight. This guy was a high-powered CEO who was diagnosed with late-stage brain cancer when he was 53. The book is his memoir of how he spent his last three months, "unwinding" relationships, trying to live fully in the present, and coming to peaceful terms with the sudden change in his life plans.

This guy wasn't a writer until he was dying, so don't look for literary brilliance. His "messages" aren't really too shocking either -- be open to the unexpected surprises that may be hidden "Perfect Moments," remember why you're working so hard to earn money (it's usually not the money per se), spend more time with the people who matter most to you and less time at work with people who are only acquaintances, etc. Still, I found it moving to read something written by a man who knew he was dying as he wrote his memoir. And his points, though obvious, are still valid things to keep in mind after a hectic day in the rat race.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

The Show with zefrank: "Don't Be Afraid"

BoingBoing linked to an episode of The Show discussing the airline restrictions that recently went into effect. Just passing it along.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Testing Styles

This says "Arth" in my writing script.

I use rss2email to let my mom and sister "subscribe" to my blog and Flickr RSS feeds via email. A new version of rss2email was released that lets me add custom CSS to the emails it sends out; this post exists to test that. Exciting, ne?


Saturday, August 5, 2006

Backpacking Photos Uploaded

Blue Sunset

I survived the backpacking trip! What's more, I even enjoyed myself (after the first less-than-pleasant, although still adventurous, night). I'd like to go again, only better equipped next time. Forrest and I are looking at doing the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail some weekend this summer.

I'm almost done uploading the photos I took to my Flickr account. (You'll have to be logged in and tagged as "friend" or "family" to see the pictures of yours truly.) I also have some blog posts and notes that I wrote while out on the trail; we'll see if those get transcribed and finished in anything resembling a timely fashion. ;)

Update, 11:54 PM: I've added my favorite photo that I took on the trip, as an enticement for you to go look at the rest of 'em. Aren't I sneaky. :P