fj: (tech)
When I get on gay.com to chat with old buds in the US, some of them tell me which super-duper obnoxious gas prices I am missing. Like $3.50 per gallon in Hawaii, if not more.

Here's Google's answer to that, with the starting point being the current max price for gas in the Netherlands at pumps:

 

1.55900 (€ / liter) = 9.35262901 US$ / US gallon

  More about calculator.


And you know it is calculated with the latest currency prices. And you have to specify US gallon here, which is 3.9 liters, not just type 'gallon' because then you get a conversion into Imperial gallon which is 4.2 liters. Also, the number is not helped by the $ not being worth much these days, which sucks when you live in £ so much so that the glyph is visibly printed on your keyboard (Shift+3), but all your capital is in $ (Shift+4).
fj: (LA)
So a few months ago I was still in LA when the car insurance needed to be renewed. Since I was living alone in an expensive loft I wanted to cut my costs, so I of course hit all comparison sites and plugged my data into all web forms for car insurance in CA I could find. The results were miserable. My homeowners insurer was the funniest one of all: they promised a discount for already having a policy with them, and still ended up twice to half as much as Geico. Not that Geico was any comfort, I was not all amused by what they were quoting me, even with high deductibles. But the small fender bender I had had at the beginning of my time in LA was doing me no favors.

So I am also on gay.com chatting that afternoon, and someone asks what I am doing, and I bitch that I am looking for car insurance, and this one long-term chat buddy privates me and says, have I got a tip for you. A company nobody has heard of. Canadians setting up shop in the USA. Wawanesa.

I'm like, sure whatever, and plug my numbers into their quote generator, that asks questions in a different way then most insurers. I am not impressed at the number that comes up, totally in line with the discount insurers. Until I notice something: that quote was for a whole year. The name-brand insurers quoted me for 6 months. Ok, this made me pay attention.

I asked my chat bud how the claims resolution was, he said he was very impressed. So I went with them. Filled in the form a week or so before my then current insurance would expire. Got called back because I seemed to have transcribed my VIM wrong. When that was resolved, they timed my insurance to start just as my current one expired. I could do my payments over the web. And they still qualified me as a good driver deserving discount because my fender bender was just not expensive enough according to them. My previous insurer was raising my rates because of the event.

I just got off the phone with them to cancel my insurance since, well, I sold the car and moved to London. The rep saw my point and took my contact address to mail my refund. Very polite, but it did take a while of being on hold before I go to that point, and I did not need to hear the muzak version of "Here Comes The Rain Again". My experience has been that if you leave a number, they do call back, but I didn't want to use international minutes off my international calling card, so I stayed on the line. I have no experience with their claims resolution, though. But I am otherwise a very happy customer who saved a lot and always got polite service.
fj: (travel)
Back from a lovely weekend in DC. It only got really cold on Sunday, but we didn't all venture out much. It was great to see so many friends in one place before I leave. I wish I could have seen more, but as said, it was already packed. Losing a night with a red-eye, being awake routinely until 4AM, it just makes you want to stay in the lobby, see everybody there, and maybe go out to eat. But my friends were there, every time I needed them.

I flew back to LAX Monday night, and went to Enterprise where I had reserved a car for this week, since I sold mine. The lady at the counter takes me to the garage and points at two Dodge monstrosities and a PT Cruiser.
-- "I thought I had ordered a compact? Economy?"
I realized she thought she was doing me a favor by upgrading me by the tone of her doubt when she said "Well, we have a Chevy Aveo I guess..."
Just then one drove into the garage. --"Yeah that," I say, "that's what I was thinking."
"What do you usually drive?"
--"I used to own a Scion xA."
"Really? I have a tC! I love it!" We started talking about our irrational love for our Scions, the Knotsberry farm Scion days, how I found out they keep their value, the latest models being not as charming, etc. Then she totally got why I was so reluctant with the big cars.
-- "Honey, I just can't park those things."
fj: (tech)
The 'How Bad Is Traffic Now' stuff is nice, but what also would be useful is if you also had a week-by-week or month-by-month average of traffic on major routes over the years you have data, so users can predict how bad traffic will be if they do their trips next week at 6 AM or 3 in the afternoon. Or you find out the patterns in some places are mathematically chaotic, and that would be good to know too.
fj: (LA)
As the commented on YouTube said, "the dude in the red is funny"

Also, I think I will keep sponsoring the ACLU from afar. It's like supporting political dissidents in the Soviet Union.

And as a 3d, [livejournal.com profile] biaggi said I would feel in limbo until I actually packed something. Well, I took a step: I went to Carmax as [livejournal.com profile] drevilmoo suggested, after having the Scion detailed to the max inside and out. Seems that together with the paint job, it got me in the highest echelons of Kelly Blue Book wholesale resale value for my model and mileage in 'good' to 'excellent' conditoon; the upper number http://Cash4UsedCars.com quoted me that they could possibly give, plus no fee for doing the paperwork without a title. I deposit the check tomorrow.

I was sad. I really liked that car. But the financial planner who told me these particular cars devalue far less was right: I got about 68% of its sticker-price value after 21 months of (light) use. I called [livejournal.com profile] timfogartyfeed to pick me up from the subway to his place after I would take a cab from the Carmax lot to a red line station, instead he picked me up and we went over website ideas and had dinner at the "Farmer's Market" at The grove.

Going to DC tomorrow, will rent a car for pick-up at LAX when I come back Monday, to be returned when I leave Tuesday the 29th or that Wednesday. Good-bye party Monday night the 28th, my place. Details forthcoming.
fj: (Default)
Just talked to http://Cash4UsedCars.com, who checked me in the DMV record and said yes, you are listed as having paid it off, you should have the title, and that getting a duplicate at the DMV will take one to two weeks. Oh god, does this fuck up my schedule or what? They are willing to buy it on the spot when they come out -- that is their model -- without the title because they can see I indeed own it and are willing to do the DMV paperwork themselves, but only for dealer trade-in prices, which is significantly less than I am seeing on Craigslist, Kelly Blue Book, and eBay. Of course, I am only seeing asking prices there, not what cars like this sell for. She suggested I try to get that title, and do a private sale anyway, and if it doesn't work, call them. I looked at the DMV forms and I can actually do a private sale of this car without a title by filing the correct things, but who the hell is going to go for that if they do not know me?

Fuck how annoying.
fj: (Default)
Because of a scheduling conflict many of my friends in LA are encountering, I will probably move my goodbye / buy-my-stuff party to Monday night the 28th. I just chose the 27th without having any idea what else was going on, and I shouldn't have.


Now I am going through all my archives and paper, even the box of warranties and manual, to purge more paper. We did this some in Boston, but not as much you'd expect from a move cross-country. Disney hired pro-movers, and they basically rolled our household up, every last bit of it, and took it here. Consequently, we didn't have a stage where everything we had to transport went through our hands for selection. Now I am doing that for my papers and the household documents.

Nothing major to find, but the receipt from my first TiVo is nostalgic. Or my first receiver. Furniture manuals. And then my personal stuff: first paychecks at Children's Hospital Boston. Documents and receipts with my temporary address on them (the then-location of Boston's soc.motss's Head Muffin). Other apartments. I can't find documents that I was ever co-owner of the condo in The Fenway, but little slips about my first brokerage account. The 4 changes of acquisition the bank I had my first account with in the US, BayBank, went through until it became Fleet -- now itself swallowed up -- and I then gave up for crappy customer service and a seemingly arbitrary limit they put on how much I could purchase in a day no matter how much was in my account I only found out about when I couldn't buy a laptop.

All of this now being disposed of again. The important papers will be sent to various addresses for safekeeping until I am established, the vital ones travel with me as they concern accounts I may have to switch off at a moments notice (utilities, insurances) no matter where I am. And as much as possible gets done in the large cloud of computing called the Internet.

I found the manuals for almost every piece of electronics I might want to sell or give away. I haven't watched a single episode of Desperate Housewives this new season, and I have to admit I simply will not watch them at all. I have stopped watching episodic TV, or any TV at all. I may pull BSG:Razor off to watch on my laptop, and then soon I will reset the TiVo and pass it on to its new home; it, and its lifetime service, have been spoken for.Thank god I have weaned myself off TV before moving to a TiVo-less country.

What I did not find is the title to my car, I will have to go to the DMV and get a duplicate. I suspect I missed it if it was sent to Oakwood, the corporate apartment complex I was in when I bought the car, just as I was moving to Downtown. Or it was never issued on paper anyway because my very large dealer is part of the Paperless Title program the California DMV has for institutions like that so that large lenders and other lienholders do not have to keep stacks of car-titles. Of course, I paid cash for mine and thus it should have been given to me on the spot, but it wasn't, and I didn't know enough about buying cars to notice. Well, since I am leaving town Thursday night that means I can't really list it now since the first DMV appointment I can get is Wednesday. God I hope I can sell the car next week in a few days then.
fj: (Default)
Car's in the shop being made all sellable, so if i have to be somewhere i'll need a ride from the metro (hint).

Posted with AutoPostBot
fj: (Hector The Protector)
OMG, I need to sell my car in 4 weeks.

I probably should get the yellow streaks where I scraped the column in the parking garage fixed first. Where does one do that?

And then find how to sell the car. My cute car. I love that car. My car was so awesome in LA.

Highway

Nov. 29th, 2007 07:26 pm
fj: (LA)
By night, the highways are open and free, and I zoom at 80 miles an hour over the 10 from Santa Monica to downtown, a 20 minute ride at those speeds. By day the highways and streets are full, all stoplights are red, a constant message from Los Angeles to you that you are not in control, that this city happens to you if a car is your choice to get around. But not at midnight, when I zoom from West to East, crossing all the streets that connect this highway to the hot spots and icons; La Cienaga, Washington, La Brea, Highland, all going north to the places where our collective cultural memories of highlights and despair are formed. Every time I cross them I think of what I have done there, which is often too much of nothing. But I am not going to the spots North, I am going East, to the cool towers of downtown, the skyscrapers always lit at night, looking down on their forgotten neglected reviving surroundings, looking down on my building with The Loft. And as I slide closer to that place in my Scion, the searchlights of the new developments beckoning into the sky, I start thinking in slogans. "New York is where people go when they have something to prove. Los Angeles is where people go who have something to be proven to them; they were given a coupon by their parents, or their town, or their drama teacher, or their friends, or their delusions, that they are the prettiest, the most talented, the most mesmerizing, and they intend to redeem it." I chastise myself for thinking in platitudes.

Pico Place is a small cul-de-sac in Santa Monica, the city West of LA that is on the beach. Pico Place is lined with wooden cottages built by a drunk builder, inhabited by amazing people, all of them so Santa Monica relaxed, getting together some nights to sing and laugh around a firepit, all of them complaining when they are alone with me, that everyone else drinks or tokes too much. There's [livejournal.com profile] epilady and [livejournal.com profile] chestertodd, which is how I arrived there, and met all these people who seem like they should just take walks on the beach in their sweat pants and have jobs filing semi-important data, but who turn out to be high-powered video game designers and fashion stylists and Burning Man-aficionados and members of fraternal societies that throw social events. One Sunday I was sitting in a patio while [livejournal.com profile] epilady was sketching her homework and [livejournal.com profile] chestertodd was making art and Helen was going through an astrology book to find her anti-sign as an exercise in her development as a life-coach now that she is leaving fashion styling, laughing as she told me how they had settled on "Frumpy" as [livejournal.com profile] epilady's anti-nickname, the one for the woman whose lipstick, camisole, and flip-flops match when she takes out the trash at 9 AM complaining about her hang-over. We were looking for "emo-kid" or "demure" or something like that for Helen, while I was working through what to charge for consulting. Helen grabs her room-mate Todd; he turns out to be a Consultant CIO who can help. I never knew. Oddly enough, even amidst all that, Pico Place is one of the few spots in LA County where I do not get the message I am inadequate, something LA loves to tell its inhabitants: life is a velvet rope you are just still on the wrong side of, always.

Night falls and I am getting ready to go home, but there's this party being thrown, a party where the hosts hope the guests will show up extravagantly dressed, a dismal hope in LA where a sweatsuit can count as couture if it has the right label on it. I'd love to go but am not dressed for anything but sitting in a patio for an afternoon, but everybody else on Pico Place just assumes I am going, certain clothes for me are here -- I seem to be the only one who even has a question about it. Of course they are, Helen pulls out a Lucha Libre wrestling mask and a gold top hat made out of some kind of foam and a Chinese black jacket with embroidery and yellow silk trim. I am going, and I have to go, because I have to take care of [livejournal.com profile] epilady, [livejournal.com profile] chestertodd tells me, even though [livejournal.com profile] chestertodd is more qualified to beat anyone up than I am. It's just that  in my height and get-up I just look the part better, and that is half the battle as a guard. And [livejournal.com profile] epilady of course attracts people to come to her instead of us having to mingle, as she crowns our festive group by wearing a powder-pink long fuzzy skirt with a train, fuschia platform shoes, a wig of terrycloth dreadlocks in pink and white, a pink knit shrug, and a candy-pink corset, not a bustier motherfuckers, but a real corset that makes her breasts heave with every breath and makes her 39" hips, symmetrical to the chest, look unreal against the 22" inch waist. I stand next to her when she poses for photographs, holding her coat, visible in a mask and taller than ever in a hat, in the garden of this party place somewhere in a warehouse district where some men dressed up by wearing a suit, some women wore an evening dress, and everyone took their outfit too seriously. A former Chippendale 15 years ago, now singer and event producer, talks to her as he is intrigued, and I can't flirt or cruise in a mask, I can just be. I realize I am gesturing bigger than usual as we talk to the former assistant of Ms Bette Davis who now works for an astronaut who has walked on the moon. I steel myself to handle standing out so, even as we all get compliments in our group, but then realize I do not have to because none of these people can identify me ever, and I can thus fully not give a crap. No, it is not logical. We do some revelry, I escort [livejournal.com profile] epilady and friends when they go to the ladies' room, making sure to make way, and after some more hanging and talking we all pile up in cars and go to Pico Place and then I glide home again. Another Santa Monica night ending.

Thanksgiving, the next week, was pretty much just like that. Go to Pico Place, hang with people, and end up at tables in the back yard having food and talking to people I have known for ages and people I have never met. We all just amalgamate there, and eat turkey and lobster, and then pie and ice cream. They sent me for ice cream, so their freezer ended up full. [livejournal.com profile] chestertodd pulls the box of lobsters out of the fridge, 18 of them upright in cardboard cubicles. They get tapped with a spoon to see which ones still are moving and thus are still alive and good to eat. It reminds me of images of a slave ship with a full cargo from Africa, and I go in the back room to play Katamari. That night I zoom home again, and it is cold and damp in LA, almost foggy. "But because all the best come here to LA, there is always someone better, stronger, thinner, faster, more talented, better voice, and thus this city doesn't care that you came. It is not waiting for you at all." Again with the slogans.

I am spending Tuesday evenings chez [livejournal.com profile] e_ticket[livejournal.com profile] fidgetcub's, where a group of media bears come together for food and reality TV. Very Gay Reality TV; Project Runway, and America's Next Top Model. We eat, we snark, we try to get through the shows without everyone talking too much. I love it, these guys are nice, and they have so much going on in their lives. One just came back from a comedy/singing tour he helped make happen, one gets up at 6 in the morning to write, just write, and I find out later he has two Ph.Ds, recently we started a major-network show on the TiVo so one of them could point out how he was an extra in the background, one of them, oh, he just decided he needed to direct this movie he wrote, so he got it financed and made it and is now shoving it through the festival circuit and will get it on DVD soon, two of them have books out and are writers for mainstream websites, and it just goes on and on. The amount of blood, sweat, and tears that has been lived through by the people getting together in that living room every week dwarfs anything that set of stupidly self-invested girls being rejected by Tyra are going through and likely ever will. You can send a tape and wait passively to be picked, or you go out and make your own chances, and simply just not to take it personally when you fall flat on your face. Take a temp job, save the money up, go do it again, and find your friends to keep you grounded in the meantime. Just make it work, but not for someone else, make it work for you.

It's pretty darn interesting to be around that. It really makes me wonder just how much I want the next job to be safe in a cubicle going over designs for ideas that will never be made by people who could not care less what the results actually look like, and how much I want actual responsibility, actually pulling my weight again, actually flying around and listening and making things happen. Every time I visualize my perfect job I am living in 3 major cities for long stints in the year, pulling work from various groups together into coherent strategies for products that make life better and are a joy to use. They cure cancer or feed the poor or something else relevant. And I get to fly business class. First, maybe, even. To my 3 tiny apartments, and my friends everywhere. While I save the world. Gotta make it happen.

Because I guess the thing is that I want to be in LA and leave it. It hasn't been two years yet and I already have a small collection of truly wonderful friends here. Antidotes against the inadequacy LA makes me feel, which LA is good at if you let it. Stuck in traffic, stuck around party worlds you'll never be part of, stuck between houses you will never get to touch, stuck between gods and godesses who will only acknowledge you if they have something to promote, it becomes too easy to forget to take responsibility for how it impacts you -- "makes me feel" my firm hairy ass -- and instead slip into joining the hordes of people trying to have cuter shoes and thinner waists to just not fail too badly on the other side of the rope, instead of developing you, letting everyone be them, and making your own chances. Which doesn't mean I don't want more cute shoes. But, so, the US is going to be a difficult place financially in the next 6 years. The nexus of where my current expertise lies, enabling the mobile pizza-coupon-delivery industry, is in Europe. I don't want to be here. I want to be here.

I paint over another smudge on a wall, hang another gleamingly beautiful kitchen cabinet door. Am I staging for sale or prettyfying to live? Staging or pretty, staging or pretty. My final Disney check came in with all of my holiday time in money, it will easily last me to the New Year. I grab my sabre saw to cut a hole in a cabinet for a vent and hope for better weather to go to the beach again. In Santa Monica. It will take me an hour to get there by day. 20 minutes to come back at night.
fj: (LA)
One day, [livejournal.com profile] pinkfish was on some local gay irc channel, just as mouse-season in our apartment was peaking and we had just returned two cats, after having had them for two weeks, to the original owner who had had a hard time parting from them, when someone wrote "I hope I find a good home for my cats before Friday before they have to go to the shelter." This is how we got Twinkie and Piruli  from pretty much a random stranger.

My car insurance is coming up. Fortunately I have time now to be online all day entering data about myself into web-forms, and calling my condo-insurance agent. The price-differences these businesses are quoting me are astounding for pretty much the same package, and they do not show you how their premiums are built up at all, making it very hard to make trade-offs. I used to, for example, not have medical coverage since I had very good medical insurance anyway through work. Now that will be over on Nov 26th, I have to wonder whether I want some coverage there in case of... I dunno, am I really not going to get COBRA? Or not have a job? Oh god. Is this why I can't get to sleep at night until 2 AM? Fortunately I don't have to be up early anyway, so I keep turning over in the dark and then shutting off my alarm at 1.30. Anyway, but what if I want medical expenses covered through the car people, how much a difference will that make in premiums? You just get a big number at the end and that is it. Big number.

I had a chat room on gay.com open in the background where people started saying what they were doing. I mentioned I was trying to save on car insurance, and so far a bare-bones Geico was the winner. You can see where this is going: I got an IM with a recommendation. Wawanesa Insurance, a bunch of Candians now offering in California. My contacts says they were good with claims too. I go to their form, enter stuff, get a quote and think, 600 bucks more than my lowest quote on Geico.

Then I realize the quote is per year. All the other quotes were for every 6 months. (Yes, I need to pay around $1200,- for insurance every 6 months here.) I can't purhase over the phone or web, I have to print out this form, but the form shows the structure of their premiums. I can make informed choices now? Huh? Is this a brave new world? And then just mail it off with the first check? OMG, you mean this will actually work?
fj: (Default)
It started over poffertjes in Amsterdam with him saying we should get married. It ended with me dropping him off at Union Station for the shuttle to LAX, and driving on to IKEA to replace what was shipped to Oakland.
fj: (travel)
It was nice to be out of LA for 3 days. Especially since I caused a three car bump-up on Thursday. I was going 5 miles an hour in slow traffic on the 110 right before downtown, looked over my shoulder to see if there was an opening in the high-speed traffic on the highway merging into ours, and the car in front of me turned out to have stopped. I can't look in both directions at the same time. The car I bumped into kept rolling for 20 yards while I stopped on the spot, and kept going so long I wondered if the driver was trying to ignore what was clearly an accident. It came to a full stop by bumping into the SUV in front of it.

Progressive has already been by to take picture. The rollerskate is driveable, the front fender and absorbers need to be replaced, and most likely it will not even get over my deductible. But still, I have been dealing with fucking LA and all the fucking driving since April, and this really made me need a break. I walked around in SF a lot, as I always do. I love visiting here. I do not think I could live here without having no space or endless commute or both, but it is a wonderful holiday.

I got to see [livejournal.com profile] vasilatos, and have dinner with [livejournal.com profile] epilady,[livejournal.com profile] chestertodd, [livejournal.com profile] dr_memory (who turned out to remember me from my motss days, fergawdsakes), [livejournal.com profile] missionista, and one more wholse LJ name I do not know. Had a blast that afternoon at the [ Big | College ] Muscle [ Bears ] evemt with [livejournal.com profile] otterpop58 and [livejournal.com profile] jeffla and everyoen else because we could talk and listen and hang.

I walked more Sunday, constantly, seeing the fair through three different sets of eyes, first hanging in a group with two femmes including the 'HOT'-sticker sticking [livejournal.com profile] chitinous and a straight boy, then meeting the indescribably amazingly looking [livejournal.com profile] epilady, geeting to fulfill my fantasy of doing a shoot on her, if even only for minutes, and seeing how the crowd reacted to her, and then being introduced to 7 million furry men by hanging with [livejournal.com profile] otterpop58 and Joel. Tag along with that man, he will make you feel A-list.

So yes, on my feet for hours and hours and hours on end. [livejournal.com profile] pinkfish and his massaging hands will have their work cut out for them.
fj: (Default)

Does Anyone Else Here Think This Is A Good Idea?
"Does Anyone Else Here Think This Is A Good Idea?", Nokia N73, Los Angeles County, 2006

fj: (LA)
1) Either the INSUSCIS came through or the DMV gave up on waiting for them, but I got me a real California license now.

2) I joined Gold's Gym. So I switched to a left-over Mac at my desk in NoHo so I could leave the laptop at my desk in Glendale and not have to schlepp hardware around all the time. The Mac has this new widget thing, and just for fun I switched it on  yesterday, and chose the weather widget and entered the zipcode of workand where my gym is, and set it to Celsius because Fahrenheit really still means shit to me. Last week the workouts in that gym without a.c. were just plain bad because of the heat, so I check the temperature widget when I am about to leave and work out, and it says

38°C

I briefly wonder whether I am having a senior moment, or my knowledge of Celsius scales and baselines has been fucked up by being in the US too long, think hard, and then come to the conclusion that I am not nuts and according to some weather data stream somewhere, it was indeed hotter outside than normal human body temperature.

No, I am not going to a gym without airconditioning while the air around me has a fever. I took the train downtown and signed up there on the 3-year plan. Tim, you're getting the referral. I will miss that dinosaur gym, though.

3) Ever since I taught myself the hammer that is Plone to implement http://research.nokia.com and http://opensource.nokia.com, everything looks like a nail in need of a good extensible Content Management System. It is a little disturbing how I am eyeing every web-page with "How would I implement that using Plone, and how fast?"
fj: (LA)
Just now that my first temporary driver's license is about to expire, I got mail from the DMV. The problem with getting my permanent California license isn't that the previous counter person entered my Greencard incorrectly. Oh no, were it that simple. It's that the INSUSCIS is being their standard jackass slow selves, and have yet to confirm to the DMV that I and my document are real. The DMV sent with the letter another temporary license, this one valid for 120 days. So now I have two temporary licenses to cover me for a while.

I must go to the DMV and give them my passport. The Dutch embassy could not possibly be slower in confirming me than the USCIS.

Remember this, everyone who wants to take part in the imigration debate with admonishments about what imigrants and wanna-be imigrants should do and wait for: the main administration for immigration issues is unable to do a routine database check for a confirmation of identity in less than three months for someone who they have already totally vetted.
fj: (Default)
Working with young twenty-somethings in conceptualization labs isn't making me feel creative and invigorated this week. This week I feel old and stagnated.

Very early I realized that my age after my birthday would be the same as the last digit of the year. Then I realized that it was only the last digit of my age that would be the same as the last digit of the year. Which is why somewhere around February, I start internally naming my age by the new number, syncyng up with the change in year, even though the change doesn't happen till May. I have been trying to deal with having 36 in my head since January.

It is too close to 40, and at 40 I was hoping to be established, respected, known, something, in some field. I feel I really can't pretend I am starting out in adulthood, anymore, at 40. 35 still feels like part of thirtysomething, just getting there, youthful indiscretions, whatever. Now it feels like I have less than four years to get where I think I should be. Instead, I am frequently in a room of energetic twentysomethings doing the same thing I am, only they started in the prestigious lab I only now got myself into, and am not formally part of. And I don't need to do coding, much, I just have to PowerPoint it up.

Some days it feels like I have been spinning my wheels on projects, and the only result is that now I get to do them in marquee labs. There's nothing really out there. I am still pretty much researcher number 87,564 like I was when I started. It's just that more is expected of me now. If the twentysomethings come up with stuff that my business unit sees no value in, I will get looks because I didn't steer them well. If the manager of the twentysomethings presents his team's results and the business unit loves them, I will still not be anyone.

I am not at the top of my game anywhere since I moved. Not in creating my home environment, not in having a relationship, not in creating value, not in being a pet owner, not in being embedded in a network of meaningful relationships, not in my financials, not in my management of life's paperwork, not in getting bigger, not in my 'hobby'. It's all treading water, waiting to start, and last night's traffic ticket -- don't ask -- didn't make me feel like I was getting ahead of the whole game much.

It so happened I had made an appointment at the DMV for this morning to at least get some of the documentation stuff in order. I do not know why the DMV gets such a bad rep here: thanks to scheduling my appointment on the web, I had to wait all of ten minutes. The INSUSCIS lets you schedule absolutely nothing for most paperwork, and when you show up at the time and place they tell you to, you can still sit and wait three hours. I found out that my permanent license hadn't been lost in the mail but that it was simply never processed and then sent to me, as my identification document had not been entered. I presented what I presented last time, a Federal document I always carry on me, as I am legally obligated to, which is on the DMV approved identification list: my Permanent Residency Permit a.k.a. Greencard. The woman at the desk was visibly surprised at it, I do not know why.

She printed me a new temp licence since the previous one was about to expire, and says she is sure that this time I will get processed for a permanent one. We were able to sort out all the addresses on my license and registration and everything. And I wasn't an insane loser always-losing-everything fool last night: I actually never had the registration to my car, it wasn't that I lost it. It had never been sent to me, as the dealership should have arranged when I drove off the lot, probably because my California license was in limbo in the system. She printed that out for me too, and grabbed a large envelope from a stack, just like that, and handed it over to me. This is how I got what is now my license plate number: they were at the top of the stack of plates DMV workers have behind their desks.

I wonder if I can track down someone in the tech caverns here in Imagineering to borrow a screwdriver from.

Oh Yeah...

Jul. 9th, 2006 01:47 pm
fj: (LA)
So I live on 8th and Maple.

The 10 to Santa Monica has an entry at 17th and Maple.

The needle of my gas guage of my color-changing rollerskate doesn't move when I drive highway.

The largest minority in LA, and many others, is glued to the TV today.

Result? 0 to surf, hazy soft sun, and cool breeze in, I swear, 20 minutes. It is probably the 'wrong' beach, like I in to the 'wrong' gym, but I am blissed. I need to start leaving beachtowels and pop-up shelters in the trunk.
fj: (LA)
[21:04] [livejournal.com profile] fj: You know, once you drive the streets of LA you realize Duckman was less of an insane out-there parody than we thought
[21:04] [livejournal.com profile] fj: and more biting satire
[21:04] [livejournal.com profile] pinkfish: I guess I will have to get used to all the half-animal half-people out there
[21:04] [livejournal.com profile] fj: Not that part!
[21:05] [livejournal.com profile] pinkfish: All the identical triplets?
[21:05] [livejournal.com profile] pinkfish: People joining in on songs you've never heard?
[21:05] [livejournal.com profile] fj: oh shut up
fj: (LA)
I forgot to mention: Sunday I was driving over Beverly from The Beverly Center to The Grove, and feeling a little hungry for lunch. Yeah, it was upscale mall day for me, I had mentioned to someone I wanted to check out The Beverly center and he said that The Grove was "much better". I am not sure how to make that distinction: TBC has a bunch of vulgar upscale stores -- Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, and judging from who was shopping in LV I wouldn't want to be caught dead with their merchandise these days -- and The Grove has a bunch of mall stores ina  completely fake recreation of some Corsican town center as seen through the eyes of someone who only reads travel brochures.

So I am driving Bevery from one enf of West Hollywood to  another, and I know I want food but not some chain experience at all. I pass a house-like structure that promises to be the best coffeeshop in LA, so I course I had to stop and see what dump is making that claim. It turns out to be a diner. I love diner food, when I can get myself to not order the salad. I ask for a counter seat, because I think when I am at a diner I should recreate my mid-century experience to the fullest, and there's this woman sitting next to me.

I do not know how to be generous here: she is of a certain age, and not in a manicured LA way. Her clothes I can only describe as a frock, I think, her hair is in a messy ponytail, her face is letting gravity and emotions and age take its natural course all over the place. She starts writing on a piece of paper, I order my hamburger club sandwich from the waitress. And while everyone is bustling to get the orders out and I am thinking I should have had the steak and eggs and thus be able to cut the starches, I am jolted out of my stupor by her "Excuse me, I am taking a survey," and she slides her handwritten note to me.

And my inner social guardian goes 'Shields UP! now" so I put on a non-commital smile and give the paper only the briefest of glances. It said something along the lines of: What men are looking most for in a woman is
1) Intelligence
2) Beauty
3)....
There were 6 or 7 choices or so.

I have to say, I sensed some kind of set-up.

A no-win of conversations about men, perhaps, an opportunity for me to have to defend my gender to a stranger at a counter of a diner I just randomly walked into. Or perhaps just another notch in the belt of justification over an unhappy life. A moment in which I could come out and have an animated conversation about roles. I felt a desire for none of it.

"I have absolutely no opinion on that, sorry," I said, sliding back "the survey" while thinking 'I wonder if she put "Available For Booty Calls" on that list?'
-- "None?"
"Absolutely none." I felt truthful: what I look for in a woman is not representative of my gender in general.
-- "Oh, ok"... or something like that. She let off. We ate our lunches in silence when they came, I paid, and left.

I need to make an LA icon. Something tells me this is not the last of these moments.

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