Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Thoughts that occurred to me while standing in the microkitchen at exactly 9:49am PST on 2/28/07, contemplating organic yogurt:

Maybe you're supposed to live unapologetically and just give life a chance.
No room for regrets, no predetermining missteps.

Maybe it was the influence of the fluorescent haze of the Google-branded display case, but somehow, I am under the impression that I ought to run with this.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Reading Rainbow.

I like to buy things. In fact, I like to buy many things. I go through periods where I'll stockpile anything from CDs to stationery to vintage rock t-shirts. These are subject to change according to mood and stage in life, of course, but the one thing that remains constant is books. I love used book stores: Green Apple, City Lights, Pegasus, Black Oak. Pages lovingly worn and vintage hardcover editions for a fraction of the price. I can never say no to a book, and I spend a ridiculous amount of money on literature because after all, how can you put a price on knowledge and culture?

From my stint as an English major to my overflowing bookshelf, everything about me suggests that I voraciously read. Having run out of room on my [strictly decorational] fireplace mantel, I have resorted to amassing piles by my CD collection and even more piles under my bed. That's not to say that I actually ever get around to reading, however. What I've realized is this: I buy books primarily to place impressively and ever-so-thoughtfully upon my mantel. And when I'm feeling especially artistic, I'll rotate the featured display, as if visually merchandising a boutique window. Books strategically purchased for what they represent, from the aesthetics (who doesn't judge a book by its cover?) to the eclectic genres, creating a telling persona without me having to even open my mouth.

Case in point: I walked into Barnes & Noble one day and stumbled upon newly designed pocket editions of Francis Bacon's On Empire and Plato's The Symposium - essentials for any self-respecting intellectual. Inspired and on a self-betterment campaign, I took the two books straight to the counter and promptly whipped out my credit card. Once the transaction was completed, I felt instantly smarter. Visions of grandeur and culture, of being engaged in philosophic discussions about shadows against a cave wall and what they represent.. all spurred by a lovely handpressed fleur-de-lys motif adorning a book cover. Will I ever study said manuals? Who knows? But should I ever have the desire, I have the option to.

Maybe it was my upbringing. While riddled to guilt at even the suggestion of shopping anywhere other than TJ Maxx, my parents would shell out the big bucks for anything with a binding. It was an educational investment, they said.

And so I continue to buy. Just this weekend, I bought seven*.

I don't know when the last time I actually read was. I simply don't have the time. My productivity ratio for the past month breaks down as follows: 10 books purchased to 1 fashion magazine perused. I recently ordered subscriptions to the New Yorker and the Economist as an alternative, but I wonder if I'll even get around to thumbing through those. If I were more practical, I suppose I would finish what I owned before carting home another dozen. But I'm not, so I can't, then I won't but.. continue to be anything other than idiosyncratic me.


* Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff, Mountain Man Dance Moves (McSweeney's book of lists), and This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in case you were wondering (but most likely weren't).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

We Never Change.

I've been experiencing a bit of writer's block, so I'm resurrecting something from the past for some much needed inspiration:

Every morning I wake up, and the first thought (or word, rather) that enters my head is “shit.”* I find this rather troublesome. I am beginning what may potentially turn out to be a glorious, God-given day with “shit.”, which proclaims doom from the start. This is usually due to the fact that I oversleep every single day and am either (a) late to work or (b) waking up at an obscene hour at which I feel like a disgusting slob. I wake up in an utter state of panic and irritation, running around, stubbing my toe, hastily slapping together what is erroneously labeled a lunch, and proceed to skivvy on out the door, face the unrelentingly malevolent wind, and run into oncoming traffic, at which I then continue to mutter obscenities under my breath in a state of sleepy disillusionment. I'm really not sure if this is the best thing.

Somethings never change. I wrote the above during the quarter I spent in DC during my senior year of college, and three years later, here I am, still v. much the same person that I was back then. Only now I don't slap together makeshift sandwiches - I get gourmet ones for free at work.

I like to think that I have shed any and all vestiges of LA. A past life, I'd rather leave to compartmentalized boxes in mental storage, collecting dust as I move forward with this new chapter in life. As with anything else, life in a new city takes acclimatizing to. First the weather. I work in an environment where knowledge of the power of 2 is a fundamental. My work has crept up even into my wardrobe, as the number of outerwear hanging in my closet has grown exponentially. Then there is the local culture. It is no secret that I have wholeheartedly embraced a local sports team – the San Jose Sharks. Some time ago, I compiled of checklist of things I needed to do in order to become a bona fide San Franciscan. I became a fan of public transportation, moved into a pre-1920's Victorian flat, and the clincher: I purchased one black North Face denali.

The other day, I happened to meet both and James Taylor independently in the same day. One at Google, and the other while en route to my design class. I got off the early shuttle at Civic Center, and there, surrounded by fans, was a man I recognized from UCLA Spring Sing 2004: Mr. Country Road himself, James Taylor. And as much as I love his music, I hesitated. No self-respecting Angeleno would behave the part of the shameless groupie, so I simply played it cool and walked on by. It then occurred to me that this was James FREAKING Taylor (yes, little known fact: Freaking is indeed his middle name) that we were talking about here, so I proceeded to shed any and all dignity, pivot, and walk on by again. This was my chance! Shake hands? Take a picture? A signed forehead, perhaps? The possibilities were endless. And in that moment of hesitation, that fleeting need to play it cool, the security guard ushered him back into the theatre where he was to perform, to perform songs like Carolina on My Mind and Sweet Baby James.

And in that moment, it dawned on me. I will never get LA out of my system.

* Subject to change and directly correlated to number of minutes late. Variants include: 'shiiit' (not to be confused with Shi'ite), 'SHIT!', and the milder, 'oh dear'.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Random Reverie.

I've been having the same reccuring random reverie, and it goes a little something like this:

I'm sitting at one of the Google cafes overlooking the Googleplex.
I suppose this will have to be Pacific or Slice - I haven't fully worked out the details - and Larry or Sergey (doesn't matter which one) will walk in.
He'll see me sitting there, gazing out the window, contemplating the contours of a nearby Eucalyptus tree.

And with the rapid brush strokes of my hand, I'll be sketching away and deeply lost in thought. And instantly, he'll be captivated.

The whimsy! The use of color! How very Googley, he'll think to himself.

And he'll whisk away my drawings and demand to know who I am and what I do for this company of his. "Hmm? Recruiting," I'll respond, in a distracted, far off manner. Simple, one word answers, furthering the mystique. And he'll proclaim, personally affronted: "Recruiting?! Talent such as that does not belong in recruiting! I hereby christen you the official sketch artist / water colorist of Google, Inc!"

And so stripped away will be my cube and IBM laptop. I will be officeless, but one MacBook happier. And I'll sprawl out on the grassy lawn, as it will be a perfectly warm, sunny day, painting the varying color nuances of the leaves above.

I know, I know. There is no such thing as a perfectly warm, sunny day in Northern California. But a girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

How Bout them Sharks? (Musings of a Hockey Outsider) - Part Deux

Everyone has a guy - whether it be their jewelry guy or hair cutting guy - whom they seem eager to endorse. Buying a diamond ring? "Go see my guy, and tell him I sent you." Need a good massage? "I know a guy.." I, too, have a guy. He's an Oakland A's fan, #14, and hails from a little known town called Moose Factory in good ole' Canadia. There's something pleasant about guys from Canadia - much like guys from Oregon, I imagine them to be grounded and surrounded by trees. This makes me happy.

Hockey is rapidly becoming my favorite sport to watch. And in the spirit of the game, Part I of my hockey ramblings. Now that I'm a Shark Tank veteran, I like to think I've picked up a thing or two about the culture. Here's what I have learned:

* It's probably a good idea to know who your team is playing. As a novice hockey enthusiast attending the game last minute, I figured this would be excusable, but regardless of level of interest and in the spirit of the game, one must at the very least do that minimal research.

* Additionally, it might be a good idea to know the colors of the opposing team. This goes for any sport. You do not want to be the lone UCLA fan who shows up clad in a red and white windbreaker to the Emerald Bowl vs. Florida State, realizing a little too late that you have arrived inadvertently clad in the other team's colors.. forced to abandon outerwear and brave the malevolent San Francisco winds. All in all, team colors are always a safe bet, as is a black North Face denali.

* When you're sending a text message to vote for your favorite Sharks moment from the year previous, you will incur a $0.99 fee, and chances are you won't be winning that team-signed jersey, no matter how lucky you're feeling.

* Hockey is a sport where fighting is a strategic mechanism for inciting team spirit in the crowds. Brownie points for gear on ice and just a hint of blood for dramatic effect (but preferably no lacerations requiring anything over 13 sutures).

* Finally: never, ever wish for a shoot out when your team is already in the lead. You just may get what you wish for. With 2.2 seconds left on the clock.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of sports according to Generika. If you would like my observations on college ball, soccer, or even log rolling (if it's on ESPN, it's a sport), I welcome complimentary tickets, upon which I shall provide my assessment.