oceantheorem: (coffee and writing)
Oh wow, has it really been this long since I updated? Where did the last month go?

Things are going really well here. We've definitely settled in, to our new apartment and our new jobs and our new life. I can honestly say I'm happier than I've been in years. I like my job, I like where my life is, and I LOVE being back on the west coast. I know I keep going on about the food, and the weather, and the FOOD, and the WEATHER, but I can't stop. I marvel at every perfectly made sandwich slathered with fresh ripe avocado, at every November morning that's warm enough for me to bike to work in a t-shirt. In the three+ months I've worked here, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been forced to eat lunch indoors due to inclement or cold weather. There is SUN! And good coffee! And something called aioli! ::dies::

So. I'm also thrilled with the amount of STUFF to do. I've hung out with friends, gone to a vampire-themed ball, seen people fling themselves into the bay in poorly-designed homemade aircraft... Tonight I went to a tiny little cafe on the other side of the city to see Lauren O'Connell sing. I discovered her two or three years ago on youtube (I can't even remember now how I found her. through Julia Nunes maybe?), and she has an absolutely incredible voice, coupled with a real talent for songwriting - the way she takes emotions and puts them into neat little words that don't diminish their feeling at all is just... mindblowing. Anyway, so I got to go see her sing tonight, and she's just as awesome in person. And is an awesome person. It was one of those times where I became the awkward nerd I really am deep down inside, and she was super friendly. I told her my name just once, when I first walked into the cafe 20 minutes before the show and she was standing by the door, and she remembered it. She called me by my name an hour later. Wow.

Jim is out driving for SideCar tonight, and was far away when the show ended, so I actually used the SideCar app myself for the first time tonight. The woman who picked me up was really friendly, and we had a nice chat. She's in the global health program here and suggested I look into it or something like it. I had forgotten how much energy and passion there can be for science, and I feel like there is a lot of it here in this city. People here want to do things that matter. And, astonishingly, they ARE. It's terrifying and intimidating and inspiring.

It's late, and I know I'm rambling, so I'll just stop. But yeah. I'm happy. That's new. It's cool. It should keep... doing... that.
oceantheorem: (cheese)
It is a glorious day in San Francisco! The morning sun is shining - and by shining I mean SHINING - in through our apartment window and across my computer desk. I am actually getting tanned as I type this.

There are supposed to be a million extra people in the city today, for events such as America's Cup (sailboat races), Fleet Week (military leave, including Blue Angels demonstrations and navy ship tours), Italian Heritage Festival, Castro Street Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, a 49ers game, and a Giants game.

What will Jim and I be doing?


Going to a free French cheese tasting. Hanging out in Dolores Park with ice cream while we check out the Zeitgeist/Venus Project (http://www.thevenusproject.com/) meetup. Going thrift shopping for clothes for Jim so we can go to the Steampunkoktoberfest dance ball tonight in San Mateo. Spending a few hours offering rides through SideCar, making more in a couple hours than Jim made in an entire month with Knight Transport.

Have I mentioned in the last five minutes that I LOVE CALIFORNIA?
oceantheorem: (gatsby the past)
A friend linked me to this article today. It's interesting, but long, so I'll summarize it here if you want to skip it: San Francisco used to be home to the weird, the outcasts, the hippies who tried new things and lived art, but in the last ten years it's slipped into a new thing, a tech central filled with new money and young kids from Elsewhere who know how to program but don't know how to relax after work, and the entire culture of the city has changed. The old character has been priced out and replaced with the overflow from Palo Alto.

I noticed this. We got here and I started apologizing profusely to Jim. This is not the California I remembered, this is not the San Francisco I talked up, this is not the city I thought we were moving to. This city is harsh and fast and unforgiving. I remembered organic food and the smell of weed on street corners and lazy mornings spent lounging in the sun with a beer while discussing all the wealth of possibility the world holds. This is not that city.

The sad thing is that this is still home to me. I don't know what makes a place home, but this one is mine. I think of all the awful things, the high rent and the ridiculously out of place racecars and the feeling that nothing you do matters because no one cares... and then I look out my window and see the lights of a thousand apartments rolling over Potrero Hill to our south, and the fog rolling in from behind us to coat the buildings to our north, the smell of salt and the sound of sirens, and it just feels like home. I belong here. It's heartbreaking. What if I'd come here six years ago? How different would it have been? Would I have needed to stay here after it changed underneath me? How do I translate this feeling of belonging into something Jim can understand? Can I feel this attachment to other places in California? What the hell is wrong with me? Who falls in love with a 7x7 square of land?
oceantheorem: (crazy but ok)
We've moved into an apartment we're calling Shoebox Palace. Some of you  may have seen pictures of it on Google+; it is very very small and very very expensive, but we actually love it. It gets tons of sunlight, and the vaulted ceiling gives us acres of wallspace for our extremely nerdy art (cutaway pictures of Firefly, posters of the Ladies of Firefly, umpteen framed dragon art pieces, a horrible parody of Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, etc), so we are now once again surrounded by things that make us feel at home. The living area is actually pretty spacious, and who needs a dining area anyway? We don't miss having one. A dishwasher would be nice, as would our own washer/dryer, but you can't have everything, right?

There is a little market about a block away. The safest way to get there is to avoid the main road to our right and instead go down the dark alleyway through the center of the block. I am not even kidding. I am pretty sure that if I walk along the big road by myself I will get raped. By contrast, the alley is populated by people who are probably homeless and maybe a little crazy, but not one of them has tried to talk to me or touch me, which is in sharp contrast to the big road. Anyway, the market itself is fabulous. It is half produce section and one third meat section, and everything they sell is incredibly cheap. Avocados are three for $1. Plantains are $0.79/lb. A giant bundle of cilantro is $0.79. I've made two batches of guacamole in the last week (WHOEVER GAVE US THE CUISINART, I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUT I LOVE YOU), and each time it's lasted for a couple days and has cost under $2. This is wonderful considering Jim has still not received a paycheck.

He at least has a job, and has been working since we got back from Dragon*Con (which was amazing, just like last year, and we already have our tickets for next year), but his company is incredibly disorganized and tends not to know where he is, or what cargo he's picking up, or whether the clients he's dealing with are actually open (hint, if it's a Sunday, they probably aren't. good job, company.). I am beginning to fear that they are going to come out and claim that Jim was never actually hired, and thus not pay him a single cent. Or worse, pay him for the last three weeks and the entire thing will be like $300.  Uuuuuggghh.

My dad is trying to get a housing voucher from the VA to live in San Francisco, so he's been around a lot lately, which has been really good. He is incredibly insecure, so I've been trying to reassure him that I do love him and that the distance I keep from him is because I'm married and just moved and got a new job and omg my life is busy. But Jim suggested we have my dad over for dinner, so we did on Saturday, and it was awesome. It went really well, and they are getting along just fine, and it was an enjoyable evening. I look forward to doing that again and forming a normal bond with my dad. Plus, he wants to teach both Jim and me everything he knows about leatherworking, which will be AWESOME. My dad uses his leather skills mostly to make belts and guitar straps and stuff for other people, mainly things with like football logos or mustang heads or whatever on them. Jim and I will use these skills to make leather armor and costume steampunk gear. We are excited.

I got to see my mom a couple weekends ago for the Reno Balloon Races, which was fun. We took my little sister (now 6.5yo), who had never been before. She was more interested in going to look for frogs in the pond than she was in the hot air balloons. Seriously, this child and I have nothing in common. She's a bright kid though, so that's good. And seeing my mom was awesome. I'm hoping to entice her over to the city to go to operas and plays and stuff - as soon as Jim starts getting a paycheck and we can afford to do that kind of thing.

I've been playing an online writing game. I think the technical description is "play-by-post online role-playing game". It started in February and has really been picking up lately; I just finished running a giant event that seems to have brought back some inactive people and drawn in some new ones, which is awesome. The world we play in is mostly based off the Dragonriders of Pern series, with some Dune influence thrown in. It's been cool to work on writing lately; it's a hobby I've had for ages but haven't been able to indulge in much in the last half-decade or so. I still don't think I'll do NaNoWriMo again, as I have no lingering desire to write a novel, but I AM really enjoying spending a lot of my free time writing little scenes with the handful of characters I've created.

We went to a Ren Faire last weekend. I got my hair braided. It was awesome.

All in all, things are much much much MUCH better than they were in August. I'd say we're very nearly settled now, and I might even be re-developing a fondness for San Francisco, though I'm wary now. City, you have burned me, and you must earn my renewed affection!

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