Friday, August 31, 2007

Satch in the City

Two days into our San Francisco sojourn, I think it's safe to say that Satchel is adjusting better than I am. He is obsessed with digging on the orange shag rug in the living room, and although I do keep telling him to stop, I do have to laugh when I see the orange lint fly out from under him like dirt.

Letting him off leash in the non-enclosed dog parks of SF (anyone who says this city is dog-friendly has never lived in a dog-friendly city, by the way) has been a bit nerve wracking, but he's done extremely well. There seems to be a group of smaller dogs who congregate in the middle of the park, and today he had an all-out wrestling match for fifteen solid minutes with a 5 pound pekinese. I was worried that he might be too frou frou for my hipster neighborhood, but he has no shortage of admirers when we're walking around. In short, he's the king of San Francisco and doing quite well.

I, on the other hand, am feeling a little bit unsettled. My apartment resembles a motel, and not just cosmetically. The building has a large rectangular courtyard, like Melrose Place (as Satchel pointed out) but if the pool was a rectangle of dirt with wood chips. Last night, I was treated to some R-rated sound effects courtesy of a neighbor having a midnight romp. It was loud enough that I heard people hissing 'shhh' out their bedroom windows, and Satchel actually barked once. We moved into the living room and attempted to get some sleep out here. He was happier sleeping on his beloved shag carpet anyway.

It is also really hot here. My google weather gadget on my google homepage keeps insisting it's 70 here, and even says it's going to rain tonight, but a quick check of shows it's actually in the 80's. While I often complain of San Francisco's constant chilliness, I have to admit that this beautiful weather is not so fun in a non-air conditioned apartment. It is great to be able to stand outside in a tank top in shorts past 7 pm and not feel cold. I will be missing that in a month!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I'm back in the 415.

I got immediately immersed in San Francisco-ness on my shuttle ride from the Oaktown airport. My shuttle driver was (1) high, (2) an amateur web designer with a scheme to (3) sell hydrogen car conversion kit information or something like that, and was (IV) stark raving mad. I think that's the Bay Area quadruple threat right there. It was fairly terrifying, and I was fairly certain he was going to pull off the road and kill me (I was the only person on the shuttle, which is normally a good thing but in this case just added to the terror). He talked the entire time, every once and a while turning completely around and resting his hand on the front passenter armrest not three inches from my knee. Of course, I got to freak the crap out of him when he stopped the van and an until-then silent and hidden Satchel started barking for fear that I was going to leave him (his standard MO when the car stops). Naturally, the driver was only temporarily terrified, as unexpected noises from unknown sources, like say voices coming from his rearview mirror, were no doubt a common occurrence in his life.

Anyhow, we've played with dogs in Mission Dolores mark and spoken to their mulleted womyn owners, we've taken BART, which was free today due to 'spare the air', and we've set ourselves up with a car sharing service. My sublet looks like a motel, and Satchel's readjustment to being in an apartment is such that he's barking anytime anyone comes into one of the 25 units in the building as if they are strangers coming into his house. I was also excited to find that my front door is a mere 40 stairs from the street, which was quite fun with my luggage. But Satchel loves stairs and I will probably end up breaking my neck from him tugging me to go faster as we descend for his morning routine.

I'm off to enjoy some more sunshine and good food in the city. As it turns out, the 85 degree forecast was no joke, so I'm here for the good stuff!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Question-- who will my parents miss more, me or Satchel?

The Final Countdown

Yes, Sasha, it was The Departed.

I am headed up to San Francisco today! I can hardly believe this is finally happening. My biggest focus over the past week or so has been trying to figure out how Satchel's days will be filled while I am at work. There is a surprisingly wide array of services available, and I have yet to find the one which doesn't involve some compromises. There's day care, which is the best because it means he's taken care of all day, and the worst because there aren't any near my apartment and I either have to pay for a car or leave my house at 6am to walk him there. There's group outing dog walkers, and I even found one who specializes in small dogs and covers my neighborhood, but she comes too early in the day so I'd probably have to pay for an individual walker to come in the afternoon or come home from work at 4 every day (I seem to recall that not being the best way to make a good impression on an employer, but it has been two years since I've had a real job). And then there's just regular old dog walkers, who I'd need to come twice a day but maybe will end up being the answer. Add in the fact that I am extremely neurotic about Satchel's care, and I've managed to not stress at all about my new job and the fact that I'm moving into an apartment I've never seen.

The one thing I did figure out is Labor Day weekend. We are going to a dog-friendly inn in Mendocino, complete with a canoe rigged up so you can take your dog out on it.

And yes, welcome to the new Juliedelphia, unofficially titled "Satch Francisco". Dog dog dog dog dog dog. Fine, I promise to adhere to my every other post rule in terms of spazzing out about the big guy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

MLB Restraining Order, Name that Film Part Deux

I'm just saying that my encounter with Maddux was one thing. That was a pleasant and welcome experience. But I think I should be able to shop at that bastion of Newport Beach-ness, Fashion Island, without being forced to see Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada's Yankee smug faces. Yankees go home, but not before getting beat badly by the Angels again.

OK, smartypants, what movie is this: (blanket sic)

Story since 70's in last century. HeroThe gram sectionplays to lack to help the headman section especially The positive place of Luo is the year of dozen, he controled the whole pirvateThe street area of The only 14-year old section wood of year becomes the section ofThe object of the point development.

At the same time, another young ratio the benefit also rush esEntered their life.Compare the father of the benefit in the airplaneA work, good natured. Because the brush-off is a sectionEspecially Luo help, drive black influence persecution.

I'll give you a hint, which is that perhaps the person meant "Leo" instead of "Luo"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Name that Film!

This is from the back of a DVD someone purchased on the streets of Shanghai. Can you name this popular American film?

(There should be a huge sic after each sentence, so I'm invoking the blanket sic)

Release on parole out still that not until 24 hours. red. Buddhist nun is just planning him and next one has planned from that prison. Three rules:does not injure any one:This man of destiny does not steal any(ly) should not to suffer. Do to such and extent that similarly your nothing can lose. This criminal of sly but has glamour begins the most complicated gambling house meticulous robs in the history. He has called together 11 experts between onenight and includes the playing cards past master and top level thief and one blows up expert. They plan to rob away 150 million American dollars from three gambling houses if La Siweijiasi. This boss of three gambling houses is elegant but merciless Ben Nidike,His the by chance former wife Tai Si of rde Buddhist nun of appointment. Robbing To understand is in progress at the same time with fiery boxing match.La Siweifiasi does outside the territories of Hong Kong and


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bindle-free and loving it

First of all, do not invite me to your vacation home if internet access is important to you. Two times this summer, wonderful people have opened their homes to me to enjoy. Two times this summer, their internet access has broken down and not been repaired until just after I leave or just before I leave. Poor Maine, with their struck-by-lightning modem and slow delivery service. I was forced to enjoy the crisp air, beautiful views, and abundant lobsters sans cyberspace.

Now I'm back in the OC, but in the biggest news in some time-- I have a place to live! I was going to make Satchel and me a set of matching bindles to prepare for our sojourn as residents of Mission Dolores Park, but we found a sublet in the Mission through January 1st so are all set! Hopefully, the real estate market yields me one suitable listing in the meantime, otherwise I may have postponed our homeless stint for the colder months of the year.

I officially take over my sublet on the 22nd, but likely won't come up until the week after. Prepare to meet a completely shaven Satchel (new insights: he is tiny, his front legs turn out when he stands, and his white blaze on his chest is actually covered in black spots--maybe he's a cockapoomatian?) and to eat a lot of good food with me very soon. Unless you don't live there.

Monday, August 06, 2007


OK, I realize that most of you have no interest in my 40+ picture albums, so I might as well upload a few pictures from the spectacularly beautiful Jiuzhaigou. Enjoy the prettiness. This last one is the only one where we took a picture of someone who wanted a picture with us. Note: my fan did have his fingers up in the same formation as mine for his picture, but for some reason chose to do the raised fist when Nisha snapped this one.

Chengdu, Mainely

The cover of this album is of the famous hot pot. Guess which half is the spicy one.

OK, lots of posts because I may have no internet access in Maine, where I am headed in a few hours. So enjoy, and the J-Z pictures and other updates will have to wait until I'm back in the OC!


From the China Daily

Some stories I've been meaning to write, and the details are now perhaps lost to me, but here you go:

Nisha and I became avid readers of the China Daily, an English language paper we got on most flights and in the occasional hotel. This paper was great not just because we were craving English language reading material, but because the contents were so often uninentionally funny.

For instance, they ran a piece about food safety issues and pointed out that the Chinese government had placed a ban on meat imports from the US for the very same concerns. It included the government's list of banned meat processors, starting with Tyson, and for the last one it said something like: "and Thumph foods, which we can only assume means Triumph Foods of Missouri."

Another great section was the one with local stories from around China. One said that the local government of a province was asking married couples to stop tearing up their marriage certificates every time they got in a fight, becuase they would then go get new marriage certificates and this extra paperwork was causing a back-up in the local administrative office.

Another featured a man who had deposited 400 yuan (about $50) some time ago in a bank, and was now trying to withdraw it despite having no records. He decided to wait it out at the bank in protest. The last line of the article was, "Who knows how long he will wait."

Another from around China was about a grandmother who combined her sense of right and wrong with her masterful kung fu skills to defeat would-be muggers and teach them the value of obeying the law.

There was an opinion section as well, with unbelievably strange points. My favorite was the one which argued that it was not good that rich Chinese people were now eating food with exotic ingredients. The argument was that there was no evidence that this food was any more nutritious than regular food, so why should they spend their money on that. In case we somehow missed the point, there was a cartoon accompanying the piece with a baby and his mother. The mother was taking away an egg, and was saying "No, no, I will get you something fancier." The baby's thought bubble said, "But I wanted to eat that." Somehow, I think the Chinese editorialists have suffered from not being able to comment much under the current regime (see also: Juliedelphia, Chinese government blocking of).

Finally, there was a fabulous notice on the front page of the paper one day. It almost resembled an ad, but was presumably some kind of government-placed piece. It informed readers that a man (can't remember his name) who worked as the Nigerian bureau chief for some Chinese paper had not reported for work in 40 days, and was now considered to have "abandoned his post." If the man did not report back within 90 days of the publication of this notice, "proper action would be taken".

I miss the China Daily, though the idiot columnists in the LA Times Sports section almost score as high on the unintentional comedy scale.

Xi'An Photos

Little by little, I'm getting my Picasa photos up. I swear, I'll do a post of all highlights soon. In the meantime, enjoy more Terra Cotta warriors than you ever dreamed of, as well as some amusing shots of us eating local foods and a water show in front of a pagoda.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Beijing Photo Album

Here it is, for those of you who really want to see over 150 pictures of me in Beijing and climbing the Great Wall. I'll upload some highlights with captions later-- a few of these have captions just to let you know where we are and what we're doing.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jet Lag, Satchel Paige, and Greg Maddux

OK, so I've been totally delinquent. I blame it on jet lag, which seems to be unending. Every time I think I've got it licked, I pass out for four hours in the middle of the day.

The most important thing is not that I got home safely, but that Satchel totally remembered me. My parents informed me via phone (I cabbed back to their house, can you believe it? They made other plans-- the day I'm coming back from a six week trip) that Satchel had spent the day in vigorous play with his 'cousin', a shih tzu named Jackson who belongs to my aunt and uncle, and was pretty wiped out from all the activity. When they did come home, I was thrilled when he took one look at me, charged into my lap, and climbed up me, licking my face and making a little crying sound. It turns out six weeks was not enough time to break the puppy-owner bond. It was enough time for him to gain two pounds, for his hair to grow completely over his face a la the just-turned-on-to-drugs Beatles, and for him to completely wrap my parents around his little paws (as if they weren't already-- but trust me, it's gotten worse). Anyhow, he is adorable, we're all settling in well, and things are good.

Also, we went to the beach the other day so my dad could make some repairs on the deck and I could watch Satchel do his little freak-out dance in the sand. He and I took a nice little walk down the beach, and he got really excited about a dog tied up behind a house a ways up from ours. I debated whether I should let him go say hi since the other dog was tied up, when the other dog's owner came out and untied her. The other dog's owner was Greg Maddux. Full disclosure: I did know his family bought a house on this beach, so this wasn't a total surprise. But what made this even cooler was that before Satchel was Satchel Paige, he held the name of Maddux for about an hour. I personally overruled it on the grounds that Maddux was likely only a Dodger for one season, but it also had some historic significance as a name which made it suspect. Anyhow, Maddux's wife, other dog, and daughter all came out, and we chatted. During this conversation, I became the most awkward and tongue-tied version of myself. I could not say, Hey, are you Greg Maddux? We're huge fans, and guess what my dog's name is and almost was! I did use his name once in front of him (sans 'Paige', which he only gets when he's in trouble). While Satchel was proclaimed adorable by the Maddux women, which just proves they have eyes, he was in no mood to play with the other dogs and just pretty much wanted to break into their house. Even though this was a perfectly natural interaction, I felt as if at any moment I would be found out as a stalker so I took my leave and ran home to share our celebrity encounter. What a cool homecoming.

Oh yeah, the rest of Shanghai was great, and I have a zillion pictures. I'll post those soon. Now find me a place to live!