April 28th, 2003


Monday Sneezes

I pulled out of my driveway this morning and up to the stop-sign at the end of my road. I slowed down without planning to stop, because nobody is ever coming. Somebody was coming, so I came to a reluctant full stop.

As the man drove by, I saw his head jerk forward once, then again. He was sneezing. "Bless you," I said softly, needlessly, an instinctive response he never heard as he drove off to wherever he was going.

I've been pretty sneezy myself this morning. Each time I sneeze, I pause and listen. More often than not, somebody in cubicle-land will call out, "Bless you!" from afar. I always respond with a "thank you", so I like to make sure I listen carefully so I'll hear it.

I'm always a bit startled when nobody says anything after a sneeze. My "thank you" is all bottled up, ready to be said, but I have no reason to say it.

Such an odd little custom we have, the sneezing ritual....but I like it anyway. I feel a little incomplete without it.

Barbie Killed My Dog

Somebody wrote a post just now about Barbie Dolls, and how she doesn't think they're evil. I wanted to be all clever and silly, so I thought I'd respond in a comment about their evility. I thought I'd write "Barbie killed my dog," in honor of They Might Be Giants' song, "Youth culture killed my dog". Then I got all distracted, singing "Youth culture killed my dog" in my head, and wondering if I could download an MP3 of it somewhere. Then I thought of posting the lyrics, because their ridiculousness always makes me smile. Then I realized I was totally off-topic, and I gave up.

I never liked Barbie as a child, because she was too "girly" and I was a tomboy. All that pink in the Barbie-aisle at toy stores still frightens me. But I suspect she won't be the ruin of modern civilization. Also, why is everybody so worried that children will want to be Barbie, instead of Raggedy Ann?

I don't understand what you did to my dog....

San Francisco Trip Log, Part 3 of 5, Wednesday

Wednesday, 4-16-2003
  • After my very-ambitious day prior, I was feeling a little less motivated.  I got up slowly, read a bit, then wandered around some of the stores at Union Square.  Macy's, Levis, Old Navy, etc. 
  • My hotel had given me a great coupon for Macy's.  There I fell in love with a cool pair of sneakers - which I later bought.  They will be in a picture further on in the trip report.  They are Skechers, and I am just hip enough to be aware that these are quite popular right now.  I was not, however, hip enough to notice that they are pronounced (and spelled, for that matter) Skechers, not SkEEchers.  Sounds like sketch-ers.  Ah well.  They are comfortable and nice-looking shoes, and they have a zipper, so you don't have to tie them!
  • Next I visited the conference briefly, to check my email and pick up another free t-shirt and smoothie. 
  • I wanted to see the infamous Good Vibrations store.  Now being a season SF traveler, I pulled out my map and quickly realized that I could take the BART down two stations, walk a couple blocks, and I'd be there...so off I went!
  • Good Vibrations is, um, an adult pleasure store.  Its exterior is discrete and tasteful, with frosted windows and a small sign (making it a challenge to find).  Inside it is very clean, bright and cheery...and full of female sex-toys!  It also had a small display of kinda-scary-looking antique vibrators.
    No Virginia, those aren't kitchen appliances!
  • The area I was in was kind of interesting, because it wasn't at all touristy or businessy -- it felt much more urban-residential than anywhere else I'd been.  It had a distinctly Hispanic flair to it, so I had to stop at its local taqueria for a chicken taco and some chips.
  • Next I took the BART back to my hotel, then I walked around Chinatown for awhile.  I wandered through lots of little shops, and ended up buying myself a leather bag/purse/satchel (whatever you'd call it).  Plus I got a few souvenirs for my friends and family.
  • I also visited the Golden Gate Cookie Company and watched a couple of Chinese women making fortune cookies.  Fortune cookies originated in San Francisco, not China, incidentally.  They were folding the cookies faster than my eyes could follow...pretty impressive!
    Where fortune cookies come from
  • After trying one of their samples, I walked back to the hotel, meet C, and dressed up for the RSA's Gala. 
  • The Gala took place in the City Hall.  It was quite lavish, with good food, great deserts, plenty of drinks, some acrobats, and a live band.  We ate, drank, danced, and had a generally good evening.
The Gala in the City Hall