February 2004 Archives

the joy of living with cats

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Transcription by Dav:
[Drawing of Mie laying in bed with a cat on her legs and a cat on her head] "Princess Wakame sleeping on my legs" "King Katsuo sleeping on my pillow before he then sat on my head!" and "one pillow against wall and one pillow for my head."

I love having the cats sleep with us. To be encircled by Dav, Wakame and Katsuo, all warm and snuggly, is so comforting. I can reach out and feel a familiar heart-beating ball of fur, have a random paw reach out towards my face, and hear the occasional meow if my leg bumps into one of them.

But it's getting a little out of control recently. Dav and I are getting squished. Sometimes, we'll find both cats blissfully sleeping on or between us, and when they're fast asleep, it's like having a bag of rice on you. If I want to roll towards Dav for a hug, I have to maneuver around these heavy loads, untangle myself so not to disturb them too much.

At least Wakame stays on the bottom half of the bed. But Katsuo has taken a liking to my pillow. I have 2 pillows; one up against the wall and one for my sleeping head. He usually settles on the pillow against the wall. I can feel him lean against my head, but if I nudge back, I can usually get him to keep his body above and away from my head. However, if he shifts during the night and turns a bit, his whole weight can come crashing down on my head. Like last night. I awoke in the middle of the night because Katsuo was literally trying to sit ON my face! I love 'em, but Dav and I don't have much space left to ourselves!

Marcus the Artist

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Transcription by Dav:
Black Dawg 02-24-04 Year o' No Lords
[punk rock kayaker in a sea of blood]

Marcus was fascinated by my digital pen and tested it out. Thank you, Marcus!

To top it off

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As if we're not full enough, we go and have ice cream at Mitchell's. Yeah, it's good but whew! It's Mardi Gras though and lent starts tomorrow for some so tonight is the night to enjoy :)

Dav's Family

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Transcription by Anonymous:
Having dinner with Dav and his super extended bio-family. Some I've met & lots of new faces. His grandmother is so sweet and cool - she has 22 grandchildren, 26 g r e a t grandchildren, and 3 g r e a t g r e a t grandchildren! And Marcus, Dav's half-bro, announced he's engaged. Yeah [heart * heart * shine]
Very cool to see all this. We are all stuffed!


And the last drawing is by Marcus...the one who made the funny face. He creates posters for bands. Really cool drawings. This one is part of a larger poster announcing his B-day bash and has a drawing of himself.

Sheila

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I forgot to buy my kitties' favorite 'wet' food today. Our schedule is that in the evening, they each get a spoonful of canned cat food. It's their highlight of the day. Dav usually serves them this wonderful treat before I get home and they love him for that. But I came home today and no food! So the cats were waiting, and Dav, swinging a Google yoyo we picked up the other day, reminded me that he had nothin' to give my wide-eyed hopeful kitties. So I kissed Dav and ran out to get some 'wet' food.

Down the street is a great corner store. I bought a zucchini from them one day and they threw in a cucumber for me. Real neighborhood spot. I ran in and bumped into a guy, obviously on his way home from work, with a big bag of kitty litter. I smiled as I looked for kitty food.

The owner chuckled as I made my purchase saying, "we're all so busy for our pets." The owner sympathisizes cuz he has Sheila. She sits outside ALL day long, mostly in a comforting box. She's very old and hobbles. But everyone loves her.

As I petted Sheila good-bye, I remembered when my housemate Kunal once asked for directions and after I described the route, he said, "oh, turn by the M&M store." That is the official name of the store (evidenced by a big painted sign on the front), but I didn't recognize it. I asked Kunal, "you mean where Sheila is?" Of course he was like whaaaa???

See, I noticed Sheila from the very beginning and she became that corner in my mind. I had never bothered to register the name M&M after that.

A little news

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I've never been to this event, but I keep hearing cool things about it so I'm rather excited. I'm gonna be on a panel at the South By Southwest Conference. The panel name is Moblog Nation on March 14.

Dav is coming so it'll be fun! And I look forward to hearing what Adam has to say.

fur on a car

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Transcription by Anonymous:
Yes, you read right a beautiful little 'ol car covered in fur! A furry car! :) I love it. Right now I drive Dav's car, which, let's say, has character. I get lots of honks and hoots driving that thing. But it's Cool! Much better then a spiffy new vehicle. Bring on the Fur!

My morning commute

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I've been very lucky with work commutes recently. In Japan, my commute was 30 minutes door to door. My office was in a building directly connected to the subway station so when it was raining or snowing, I only had to deal with the 3 minute walk from my door to the subway. Here, I kind of expected a hellish commute to the San Jose area, but I scored once again and have a 20 -25 minute drive to work. And I arrive at 10am so the traffic is light.

But I'm learning there's an interesting downside. I love listening to NPR and commuting is the perfect time for this. Or so I thought. Because unlike the morning news that gives you a decent overview of what's going on, at my commute time, I hear Forum which is an in-depth discussion/debate on a certain topic. It's a wonderful show, but a 20 minute ride always leaves me wanting to stay in the parking lot to hear more.

But even harder for me is sometimes, like today, the discussions can become quite heated. Name calling, interruptions, and biting accusations can be the norm. I have the utmost respect for the moderators who calmly steer the conversation away from downright fights. Usually this happens with controversial topics like gay marriage or immigration laws, and the discussions usually get my heart-beating fast too and sometimes mad! I'm just not used to hearing heated arguments, especially in the morning. I know that normal news wouldn't cheer me much either and at least in Forums you hear about activists working hard to solve problems, but I don't have tough skin in the morning and don't like hearing people being so mean to each other.

at Tunnel Top

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Transcription by Dav:

Small circle - Dav and I are out with Boris tonight (at Tunnel Top at Bush/Stockton which is quite a cool place). Dav and Boris are discussing ideas. But Boris was at the First International Moblogging Conference (I'll provide the link later) and we met back then. There are lots of mutual contacts too. I've been wanting to write about this - and I will later - but so much is interconnected with all this blog/internet stuff. Still so amazes me. I get why people want to visually see their social networks - it's wild



Here is the link to the Moblogging Conference I referred to. Great memories and I met lots of cool people!

Craziness

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I rarely write about news or politics, but here is something that is crazy and should get more coverage.

The Cuevases thought they were doing what was best for their family when they decided to stay in the United States after their visitors' visas had expired. In 1996, they applied for permanent residence status. Now, after living in America for 19 years, the Cuevas family is facing deportation on Feb. 17 to the Philippines -- a country they barely remember, and one whose culture their adult children know little about.

See here for the article .

I realize people will criticize the issue of overstaying a visa. But it's not so simple when you are talking about a family with children, a struggling developing country (remember the Marcoses?), and the past (see "The Philippine failure" section) and current US-Philippines relations. Plus, after having lived in San Diego, it's hard not to notice that things wouldn't be so rosy for US consumers without illegal and immigrant workers.

What I'm trying to say is that the issue is not simply an overstayed visa since there are many forces at play that bring people to this situation. Besides, the kids in this case are innocent. Can you imagine what this is teaching them?

The reason this strikes a chord in me is that I am a US citizen who more or less grew up in Japan and never quite fit in the 'box' delineated by my passport. I first should say that I am aware of the immense value I receive from having a US citizenship. I am working and living here by choice, after all. I am grateful to have that choice. But I'm not sure that strict national borders (that were artificially created after much blood shedding) and citizenships that define people in very powerful ways is the best system for an increasingly transnational hybrid community.

In Japan, I had to carry around an Alien Registration. It used to be a whole booklet complete with a fingerprint; now it's more like a driver's license, but you must have it on you at all times. (You have to have an address to get one and there has been blatant discrimination against non-white foreigners in trying to rent places thus making it difficult to get it. And without it, you can't get a bank account, buy a phone, get insurance, etc. But that's a whole other story that riles me up.) Growing up in Tokyo, I had to go with my mom every 3 years down to the immigration office to extend my 'stay.' Every time I came back from abroad, I had to explain why I was coming back to my home. (Things are a bit more open now though.) And feeling more Japanese than American, I was horrified to learn in high school that if the US went to war, I would be forced to be on the US side.

My issues are very minor compared to the Cuevases and many other families facing the inflexibility of the law. But it absolutely irritates me that the state isn't seeing the people behind these definitions. As humans, there are always exceptions and misfits.

So sign the petition should you wish. Thanks for letting me rant.

the biggest mystery

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So I was finishing up laundry, and yet again, I came up with several lone single socks. And they always seem to be Dav's black socks. I'm a stickler for pairing up socks so they are together in the sock drawer. I mean, we have 2 feet so organizing this much makes sense to me. When I first moved in with Dav, all his socks were haphazardly piled in a drawer. So one day, I sifted through all of them, found the pairs, and decided to use the singletons for rags. But I keep finding more, and today I ended up with 3 more! I do all the laundry (remember, I like this activity) and just don't get how this happens. I double checked with the 'rag' socks and sure enough, NONE of these match! Any ideas??

Simple pleasures

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After having a fabulous Thai brunch with Cameo and Dav at Berkeley's Thai Cultural Center and digesting it on the mini steam train ride in Tilden Park, I came home and did some house cleaning. A little vacuuming here, washing the tub there, cleaning up odds and ends, and laundry (my favorite). I realize this can be a chore, but for me, it's somewhat theraputic. I can't tell why, but there's something very fulfilling for me to get the house clean, and paper piled up over the week organized. Just feels good. Though the cats run and hide when the monster vacuum cleaner comes out, even they seem a bit more relaxed once I'm done. If they could smile, I think they would. Anyhow, I'm feeling all good and ready for the week : )

p.s. here's a bonus pic for ya'll. This was from the Reclaim the Streets protest where the dress attire was pirates. I was lazy and wore a bandana that Dav had, but at least I got in the spirit and was saying, "arrrrrrrrgh!" to be all scary and piratey.

Photo_10.jpg

choo choo!

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Quicktime 6.5 Movie (.3gp)
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Transcription by mademoiselle a.:
Mie wrote:
Here in Tilden Park in Berkeley with Cameo and Dav, wahoo! Gonna ride the choochoo steam train [smiley face]

Cameo wrote:
Yummy Thai Food & Mango Sticky rice! [dog face] Mie has perfumed hands like a goddess. And how this pen is cool!

[steam train] <-- By Dav


Party in the street

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Reclaiming the streets

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Quicktime 6.5 Movie (.3gp)
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See www.rts-sf.org or sfrts.tribe.net for info.

At Somarts

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Quicktime 6.5 Movie (.3gp)
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For a cacophony fundraiser. Lots of art, music and burning man folk...Ahhh, I feel back in what feels good and fun!

now at Jade

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Midori Mushi

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Transcription by Chuck Swenson:
My first time at this place in Hayes Valley. Totally cool but packed, and I'm upstairs in the bar section waiting for my friend Joy. We all have to take our shoes off downstairs in the tiny restaurant. This place was the "office" part of a motel (which is now a chain motel but they don't use this part.

Joy is a lawyer and was slated to move to Tokyo for one year (we went to high school in Tokyo together). Anyway, I thought she already left, but she called to go out tonight. Turns out she was sick for a month -- broke three ribs from coughing! She's better now and will be leaving next week. Wild though!

Natural Beauty

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Transcription by Dav:
Visiting the newly renovated conservatory of flowers. Been wanting to check this out for a while. So warm and colorful.

From my brother Ian:
Loving it out here - first time to see the sun in weeks!

in golden gate park

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Walking around with my visiting brother and friends. Found a jazz band jamming in a tunnel.

a little insight

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Dav was a psychology major before he got into computer stuff and knows a bit about the Briggs Myers personality test. He did a test and scored as an INTP. And from what I read, it's right on (and he agrees). He thought I would be an ESFJ, but when I took a short version of the test, I scored as EFNJ. There are some definite truisms about me:

"deal with things according to how you feel about them." Very true.

"They live in the world of people possibilities." Yep. I love people in all their flying colors.

"...tend to be more reserved about exposing themselves." I thought that came from growing up in Japan, but hey.

"When faced with a conflict between a strongly-held value and serving another person's need, they are highly likely to value the other person's needs." Not a shining quality, but I've done that.

"Their genuine interest in Humankind." Once again, yup.

But it wasn't a perfect fit as Dav feels about his:

"use their power over people to manipulate them." I hope not! But maybe I'm not facing the truth? Eeeeck..

"turn to dark thoughts when alone..." I actually like being alone and had a blast living on my own. Don't remember too many "dark thoughts" other than missing Dav.

I dunno. How can you type humans into 16 categories perfectly? Anyway, with these two types between us, I of course wanted to find some sorta compatibility analysis. I mean, the tests show we view and react to the world quite differently. I didn't find much between INTPs and EFNJs, but with INTPs and ESFJs, there's "mutual attraction." The ESFJ likes serving "as an anchorage for the INTP's flights to the higher levels of abstraction," according to a different summary. Admittedly each summary says something a little different so in the end, I can't really tell what all this means.

Besides, I noticed an opposite dynamic between us too. For example, when he goaded me to buy the meanest phone in Tokyo, set me up with my first blog, and gave me moblogging capabilities, it was he who anchored me while I ran around snapping pics every which way. Anytime I had a wishlist or a problem, I'd email him and had the best tech support anyone could hope for.

Another example was when I visited him in SF from Tokyo for NYE. He had bought me these beautiful green butterfly wings to wear with a matching fuzzy green top. I truly felt like a magical butterfly. But being a debutante in wing-wearing, I promptly danced around gleefully hitting people in the face unbeknownst to me while Dav, ever so watchful, ran after me keeping people out of the danger I was causing. When I figured this out, I was embarrassed, but also charmed. I got to fly around while he took care of damage-control.

So these tests are cool as food for thought; a nudge towards insight, a reason to say, "hmm, I suppose I can be a pain in the butt that way," or "ah yeah, that's how to describe what s/he does." Yet ultimately, you just gotta live together - day in, day out - to figure out how our quirky characters mesh together. That's pretty much what we're doing.

Along with 2 very quirky cats, if I may add.