Friday, June 30, 2006

There's no place like home.

We are moved into the new house. We are still working on the house and will be working on the house for the foreseeable future. There are a number of projects on our list. I think I got a splinter from the newly finished floors last night. The kitchen is lined with old, cracked, ugly linoleum, and the cabinet layout was designed by someone with a malicious sense of humor.

We took several metal awnings off the windows and, in the process, took away some of the face of the house. Just paint and stuff mostly, but it doesn't look nice. The garage was used for years as an office/guest room and smells of dog. A lot. Only half the windows have blinds or drapes. We haven't yet unpacked 40% of our boxes.

The exhaust vent from our hot water heater is not angled properly, so the serviceman from the Gas Company, who came out to turn the heater pilot light back on after it had gone out after the guys bolting our house (seismic retrofitting) accidentally turned off the gas to the house by tripping the seismic-gas-shut-off, told us that we couldn't (or shouldn't) run the hot water heater until we had had a plumber come in and fix the exhaust vent. The service guy said he couldn't leave the pilot light on because of the noncompliant vent, but he did show me how to turn it on myself, sort of leaving the safety decision up to me. I left it off and called some plumbers and we have been taking cold showers. Which is okay, because it is about 103 degrees here every day now.

There are loose wires in the attic. About half of the electric sockets don't work. SBC and AT&T have merged which means -- for me, the pathetic customer -- that they seem to have laid off about half their customer service staff, leading to loads of confusion (you have to call the "new" AT&T if you were a former SBC customer; if you call the "old" AT&T, you will be lost in transfer limbo forever) and -- I am not exaggerating -- 35 minutes waiting on hold to cancel a repair appointment.

It does cool down in the evenings.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In transit

I'm at the apartment in Los Feliz, which is mostly empty now. The moving guys are taking out the last few items from the house. They just carried our couch out the door, shrink wrapped. It's a pretty short move to Eagle Rock, probably just 10 or 12 minutes, but moving is still a tremendous pain in the ass. There are probably 15 more companies or departments I need to contact to notify them of my change of address.

Anyway, no time for a real post now, but here's an excerpt from a travelogue sent by my middle brother from Hong Kong -- he's not to be confused with my baby brother, who's currently in Bangladesh, and whose post on Bengali World Cup mania I posted a few days ago:
The city of Hong Kong is spectacular. It’s as if someone scrunched New York City up into one big hilly mess, with buildings and walkways built on top of each other. The place is so densely packed and hilly that in some places you take actual escalators to go from one neighborhood to another.
The rest of the travelogue was mostly about his personal affairs in Hong Kong. It sounds like a fascinating place and I'd like to get out there sometime soon.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Qui Transtulit Sustinet

He who transplanted still sustains.

I've been thinking about getting one of these and hanging it out in the backyard in Eagle Rock. The motto seems more appropriate than ever, especially out here in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Magic of the Market

This seems deeply troubling to me: World's Wealthy Hit New Peak

Almost Everything Connects

The U.S. is weighing whether to try to shoot down any missiles fired by North Korea in their test of Taepondong rockets they claim are capable of reaching the west coast of the United States. And we're especially worried because the North Koreans have been busily developing their nuclear technology while we've been waging our War on Terror in Baghdad and environs (where there were no nukes or missiles with nukes).

It looks like the North Koreans are serious. According to the Guardian, "North Korean officials today insisted they had the right to carry out the test after US spy satellite images apparently identified a missile being fuelled up. The corrosive nature of rocket fuel means missiles have to be fired within five to 10 days."

Even if the U.S. wanted to try to shoot down a North Korean test missile, it's unlikely that we'd be able to. As everyone knows, the roughly $91 billion dollars the Pentagon has spent on a missile defense system has been largely a bust, providing us with really expensive space-age stuff incapable of shooting down anything.

Copa (Tercero) Mundial

I'm still here. My mind has been taken over with soccer and the imminent move to Eagle Rock. I've been working too much as well.

I wonder if anything else is happening in the world other than the World Cup. I know other things are happening, but I can't imagine what they might be.

My little brother is in Bangladesh right now. He wrote me a fantastic email about his travels and the World Cup mania that has swept through the country:
I took the bus from Dhaka to Chittagong and it's hard to believe that this is the most overpopulated country in the world. Most of this country is fields and villages. The monsoons flood all the farmland, leaving perfect conditions for growing rice. Many villagers' homes get flooded; they move to the city during the monsoon season, and then move back to their village for the farming. People are actually really into the World Cup here: there are Brazilian, Argentine, and English flags everywhere. Even when we were traveling by the villages I saw flags posted on TV towers and trees. Also, in the small shops in the villages everyone huddles around a small TV and watches the games. In Chittagong there are huge TV's at big intersections, like in Times Square, where everyone gathers and watches the games outside. I went with [Octopus Cousin] to watch the game and all the rickshaw drivers, beggars, store owners, and baby taxi drivers were all in the streets watching the game. They are really into it here. In one city the power went out during the Argentina game where they scored 6 goals and the people rioted and destroyed the powerplant.
(slightly edited.) I've told my little brother to clear out if the power goes out again and to try not to destroy any power plants. I'm hoping my brother will forgive me for flagrantly violating his intellectual property rights. It's fair use: news reporting for the people.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Summary of Peter Beinart's New Book: The Good Fight

No, we have not read his stupid new book, but here is our summary: Yes, yes, the war in Iraq was a mistake, but that shouldn't stop us from blowing up Iran. Vote Hillary.

Peter Beinart is a moron. Oh, you gotta love TNR, they're always so right about everything.

Let's Hug

My little brown friend.


You are dressed so neatly.

Oh, you mean this shirt? It's the only one I own.

But you value what you have. That is good.

I don't ask for a lot.

And your shoes. They're worn, but well maintained. You've had them resoled, haven't you?

Why, yes, I have. They're a perfectly good pair of shoes.

This fills me with a warm feeling. I appreciate your humble, thrifty goodness.

Sometimes, I think, what if things were different? What if I were tall and fair? What if I could laugh nonchalantly the way those tall fair people do, with their witty asides? What if I had that unimpeachable accent? What if I could wear roll turtlenecks?

But you don't let it get you down.

No, I don't. I remind myself to be happy with what I have. I shine my shoes. I smile a lot, hoping other people will smile back.

That's the way.

Sometimes, I wonder what I am.

You're just a man, trying to do his job, trying to get by, playing by the rules.

I suppose you're right. But I feel some days that I've lost my way.

Here. Take this.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What happens when you allow people to post for free

Month after month after month, time barrels forward, gaining speed, leaving behind fond memories of meals, sunny days, sleepy mornings, pleasant rides. Leaving behind a trail of paper and words and numbers. Brush your teeth, pay your bills, return phone calls, remember birthdays -- save the world.

I wish I could get off for a few days, survey the scene. The future is always barging in. The past is still unsettled, so rich with details we missed the first time around. There's not nearly enough time in the present to prepare and reflect. Instead, we save.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Soccer Madness

Soccer soccer soccer! I’ve been swept up into full on World Cup year soccer madness. After several months of going without soccer, I hit upon a Craigslist bonanza of teams looking for players and I think I have now officially signed up for three different teams. There’s one based in Pasadena, a bunch of European and Latin guys, another in LA with snazzy uniforms and a 30 and over team, and, finally, a co-ed team. I have quickly become obsessed with all of my new teams. The Pasadena team has a blog and I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time commenting on the blog on our first friendly yesterday (we lost) and possible alternate formations we could try to shore up our strength in the midfield. I’ve even gone on a recruiting spree, trying to find quality players to boost the Pasadena team.

I’m just hoping I don’t injure myself in all this excitement.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Mysterious Liver

No one is quite sure exactly what it does.

Nice try

I really expected more from myself.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Since you've been gone.

I’m really sorry I’ve been away for so long! It sucks sometimes having to work and shit. Whine, carp, bitch, moan, al gore for president kibbles ‘n bits taco time hula hoop bangers and pear shaped sixes and nines tuvalu io hubble rings things linens floss smooth glide EZ lube jiffy KY pajama jelly jam pillow cover eyelash drool pool paramecium party size chex mix flakey scalp and marshmallow fluff.