Weekend distractions

I should be working on a short story revision right now.  Since last week to be precise.  I managed to get a treatment done Friday afternoon, working from Queen Malika.  Since then, nada.

Mainly last week I spent either re-writing resumes for different job applications and crafting cover letters, or working the network of former colleagues in the IT consulting industry.  So it wasn’t an unproductive week.

I figured this weekend I would catch up.  Yesterday I got up early and instead of writing went to the new Duc Loi market on Mission at 18th, because I wanted to get some fresh produce and meat for an Indian dinner.  The tomater ghost (beef stewed with tomatoes, ginger and Indian spices) and okra masala were delicious, but Indian cooking takes a lot of preparation and watching – it’s not a crock-pot type thing.  Do try Duc Loi – it’s sort of a much larger Golden Produce.  I got two bags of great veggies and a pound and a half of beef and some spices for less than thirteen dollars.  Try that at Safeway, not!

Duc Loi meat section

Duc Loi meat section

And so far Sunday I’ve managed to avoid revisiting the story by making a batch of french toast, reading the SF Comical and then preparing a dessert for an Oscar party we are headed to later.  The dessert is a sorbet of Lychees and cardamom powder.  It’s from a cookbook by Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, and in it she says it is the dessert she would have if she could only have one.  I don’t know if I would go that far (after all, it doesn’t have chocolate in it!) but it is quite good.  I like lychees – although I don’t usually encounter them outside the occasional Lychee-tini – and cardamom is the perfect dessert spice, with it’s scent of flowers and citrus and a little bit of eucalyptus for punch.  I also liked the recipe because it gave me cause to use our ice cream maker.  Which does not get a lot of exercise.

So, here it is almost Oscar time – I think the red carpet walk is going on right now – and I have Word open and have added a paragraph I need to my story, and maybe – just maybe – I will be able to get on with it now!


Getting old sucks, and gurgles, and

r2-d2_cookie-jar-01Getting old is noisy.  No one told me that.  Why doesn’t someone write a guide to all the new things your body will tell you as get past a certain age?  And I don’t mean that my body gives me subtle clues to changes.  I mean it has started talking out loud.  I’ve been sitting on a sunny staircase at home, wondering which yoga class to do this afternoon or whether to go to the gym and do a real weight workout afterall and in the midst of this my torso – you know, the part where my abs used to be? – is gurgling and blurping as if an extra-terrestrial got trapped somehow in my lunch bowl of chicken and rice.  Hello, R2-D2 in there?

Not only that, my joints creak and pop for the littlest reasons.  I mean, I’m not talking cracking my knuckles here.  I’m talking about shoulders, spine, wrists, neck – I’m sure people next to me in yoga wonder if I am going to pop apart.

Core essentials

I worked on another round of resume updates all morning, based on tips from a tech recruiter I met with on Tuesday downtown.  He said some firms are hiring – right now in healthcare and insurance.  Since the tech firm that I have been writing for has basically suspended that kind of marketing due to the economy, seems like a prudent thing to get back in project management, because otherwise as fast as technology moves, skills and experience get out of date.  Luckily, since I’ve been in consulting and systems integration for years I have an unusually wide base of experience.

Because of my weak memory, I have to alternate between tweaking the resume (downstairs on the Macbook) and running upstairs to the WinXP desktop that has all the storage to search old project files and evaluations to spark my memory as to what interesting or significant projects, systems and teams I’ve worked on over the years.  As a compulsive type, I have every email and project document or client kudos or performance evaluation since 1997 when I started in consulting.  All sitting on my a little 1terabyte external USB hard drive, which theoretically could be attached to my Macbook but the damn vendor formatted it specifically for WinDoze and I am too lazy to backup and reformat.

I decided to break for it near noon, as my head was spinning and I had already gotten sidetracked with installing a new firewall for the XP box that I read about this morning, and headed down to the gym.  I went to the “Core Essentials” group exercise class led by Victor.  I hadn’t been to that class, and didn’t know what to expect other than a lot of abs maybe, and the promise that no matter how strenuous it was only an hour.

Turned out to be a cross between old-school calisthenics, new-fangled core strengthening and yoga.  And it worked.  I got up a good sweat, got some cardio, good core training ideas, and a nice stretch at the end.  I’ll be back.  I just wish I hadn’t done 30 reps of 200lb squats on the new rack right before class.  But since it was called ‘Core Essentials’ I figured it wouldn’t hit legs.  Wrong!  They consider glutes and quads part of the core.  We did five or six variations on squats included one-legged (great for balance).

Back home I heated up frozen chicken for a quick lunch because I had a lot more to do on the resume, which by now was up to a dense three and a half pages.  Which I would think is way too long, but the recruiter wanted depth and description.  As I was heating lunch I discovered that the kitten has now grown enough in length and strength that she is able to jump up onto even the highest kitchen counters – even the breakfast bar which must be 5 feet high.  I had to keep ‘No’-ing her and putting her in isolation each time she did it.  Isolation is the recommended punishment – kittens are social and when they are with you hate to be put away.

Later I got a call from the recruiter that a firm downtown has an opening which might be a good fit, so I had to hurry with the resume changes and send it off to him.   Complication – the firm with the opening is where a friend who is also a tech project manager already works.  And he is a true capital-D Diva.  I would have to make sure not to be anywhere close to his project!

fullthrottleunleaded<added> After posting this I realized I needed to credit Full Throttle Unleaded energy drink, which has me totally wired right now.

Eating light, with bacon!

I wanted to make something light tonight for dinner, so decided to broil wild Alaskan sea scallops which i found at the IGA in the Castro. But then as I was starting to prepare everything I saw we had some bacon left in the fridge, so I found a recipe for bacon-brown sugar-broiled scallops. Waste not, want not I say in these days of downturn.

Hmmm, kinda of undoes the ‘light’ part of the meal I guess. But who can argue with bacon and scallops?

That just made me think of Jaime, the SF chestestant on Top Chef who was being ribbed for always cooking scallops.  She wouldn’t have been kicked off if she had used bacon.

At Tokyo's Tsukiji market

At Tokyo's Tsukiji market

Wet blanket

The rains have returned, finally, and we need it. But from the tone of the news here the wet weather might just be His little joke on us. I mean why should the sky be clear and sunny when everything else is falling apart? That would be what, weather dissonance?

The crazy only-in-San Francisco-ness of Bay to Breakers is perhaps a thing of the past, as the sponsors announced that no floats, alcohol or nudity are allowed anymore. Hmmm what are people supposed to do, run? It’s one of the institutions I have never participated in or watched, and now I’ve missed the best part! Damn – kind of like I missed Trannyshack all these years.

Item two – the Chron reported the other day that 27 storefronts are empty on Valencia Street, as part of the coverage of American Apparel’s application to open a store in the Mission. That was a mind-boggling statistic for me. Hubby and I had walked Valencia last weekend all the way down to 12th Street just to check everything out, since we normally hover around the 22nd Street area – home to Lucca, Yoga Flow, Makeout Room, Revolution Cafe, Ritual Roasters among other businesses. But further towards Market are spots like Frijtz, Therapy, something called the Pirate Store which was fun but hard to describe – check it out – and restaurants and bars. But plenty of empty storefronts, even more than in the Castro.

Item three – ack! I cracked my head in a doorway this morning. I’ll be okay; the lump only hurts when I ice it.

How bad is it?

The old National Guard Amory

The old National Guard Amory

The NYT Magazine has a spread on local porn production house Kink.com (you know, the folks that bought and renovated the long-empty Armory building on 14th Street). Apparently our economy is so bad that even they have been forced to lay off 15% of the staff of 70.  And what type of person works at an employer called Kink.com?

Talking with Kink’s 70 employees, the majority of whom are in their 20s or 30s, it would seem that porn has become just another career that creative people latch onto in the fog following college — years spent meandering between unpaid internships and dispiriting corporations, lashed with debt. A young woman who calls herself Cat Rich told me that she volunteered as a civilian nurse in Iraq after graduation but wound up back in Indiana selling cars; she is now Kink’s events coordinator. A Harvard alum in Kink’s marketing department worked in restaurants after moving to San Francisco and got his first adult-industry job after searching for the word “fun” on Craigslist. A cameraman, one of several employees with film degrees, was not only laid off in the dot-com bust but also found himself owing $14,000 in a perplexing stock-option scheme gone sour. “I promised myself I would never work at a dot-com again, but here I am,” he said, and “it feels very much like the blissful dot-com days before the crash.” There are weekly catered lunches, a health plan stretching to vision insurance and, even harder to come by, a pervasive feeling of usefulness. Reena Patel, Kink’s vice president for marketing, who has an M.B.A. and previously worked at Merrill Lynch, told me, “I actually apply my education to this job.”

Sounds like my days at a start-up tech firm in the South Bay before the dot-bomb fiasco. Except with naked people and cameras.