Archive for 'dc' Category


Happy (Belated) Holidays!

Well, I’m back from a week spent on the East Coast with my family with RMCA and the Laskeys. It was a great little trip seeing my Dad, brother, LN, sister, and many nephews and nieces. While there’s always some degree of tension in these things, especially between my brother and sister, it was much better than even just a few years ago. I thought being in my parent’s old house without my Mom would be kind of uncomfortable it wasn’t.

One of the great pleasures was getting to know my nephews again. It had been about five years since I saw them last and they’ve grown and changed into interesting, intelligent and energetic kids. Too energetic sometimes. :) Guys, I owe you one heck of a pillow fight.

Anyways, I’m back in San Francisco now taking care of the household cleaning before heading out and running errands. While it is good to be back I’m missing my family more than I expected. Yes, we’re a bunch of strangers in some ways yet at the same time I feel closer to them than I ever thought I would. I will try to make sure that closeness remains strong.

Meanwhile, Happy Belated Holidays to everyone and I hope the coming New Year is a good one.

Comments Off on Happy (Belated) Holidays! | Catergorized: dc  family  friends  life


It’s Getting Too Expensive to Live Here!

I knew even before I moved to San Francisco from Washington, DC that the Bay Area was going to be expensive. That was 10 years ago. The first place I got was $550/month. It was a tiny room in a three bedroom apartment containing four people (none of whom I really liked). My first job here paid me $23.5K and after taxes that didn’t leave much. I ate a lot of Indian Hurricane Stew that year (Dinty Moore stew with curry thrown in) and managed. Barely. When my wages started increasing me and two friends got a great flat in the Richmond District (the urban suburb of San Francisco, along with the Sunset District). My rent is higher but I have more room and, fortunately, I’m making more now. I’ve got a really good deal.

I do crave my own apartment, though. Someplace to call my own. This summer I started looking idly for a new apartment. Was I shocked.

In the short span of a few months, finding an apartment in San Francisco has gone from a challenge to a nightmare – with landlords demanding rents that are beyond laughable. We all know it’s expensive to live here, but $1445 for a studio in the Mission? $2500 for a one-bedroom in Cole Valley? $3685 for a two-bedroom in Noe Valley?

Ridiculous! Somewhere in my life I picked up the notion that housing should cost 1/3rd of your take home pay and at most 1/2. How can people afford to live here at all?

SF Gate has an article about the cost of living out here outlining the costs. Keep in mind this is just the basic expenses and doesn’t include discretionary spending!

How much households must spend on average each month to live in the Bay Area:

Single adult: $2,469

Single-parent family (two kids): $5,489

Two-parent family (one working): $4,423

Two-parent family (both working): $6,422

This is a huge problem, and a huge portion of this problem comes from the cost of housing. I’m very lucky that I can afford my place now, but the prospect of moving seems almost impossible. With single family homes averaging $553,000 (according to the first link) I can’t even think about buying.

No wonder so many locals fantasize about a huge earthquake to drive out as many as possible so the market is forced to readjust. When I moved here ten years ago my $550 piece-of-shit room seemed out of control. These days it wouldn’t even rent you a closet. Maybe I should have titled this “It’s Already Too Expensive to Live Here!”

1 Comment | Catergorized: dc  grrr  life  san francisco


4×4 Ayes

So Jason tagged me with one of these things where you answer all kinds of questions and then tag others in the hope that they reveal as much information as you do so your answers aren’t quite so embarrassing when you look at them the day after you post them. Jason’s post is a series of four answers for various personal stats. My post title pays homage to the nature of fours, his post title, the fact that I didn’t post anything for Talk Like a Pirate Day, and an old anime called 3×3 Eyes. I’m kind of proud of how much reference is in that title. :)

Four jobs I have had (current job excluded):
I’ll make these approximately in order from the first jobs that I consider “real jobs” since I’ve had far too many jobs in my life…

  1. Burger Flipper. McDonalds. My parents made a deal with me in high school that I could drive the car but I had to pay for the gas and maintenance. Not knowing what else to do I took a job in fast food just like, it seems, much of America has at that age.
  2. Industrial Drill Press Operator. Haynes Engineering and Manufacturing. For two summers I worked for my Uncle in Detroit as a drill press operator. We made many of the pumps that Detroit automakers used on their assembly lines. It was hard, dirty work but I learned a lot about honest work under the watchful eyes of my Uncle and the guys in the shop.
  3. No title. The Front Room. I don’t know if all of you are old enough to remember, but coffee shops used to be almost non-existent. There were no vente, grande, or short coffees. Certainly no frappucino sweet drinks. Despite that we were on the bleeding edge and actually had imported coffee. Ironically I didn’t drink coffee at the time.
  4. Currency Exchanger. Cekobanka. My only qualifications for this job were I could count in a couple languages and speak English natively. The job rather sucked but the people I worked with were united in their bitterness in the job and scorn for the tourists.

Four Films I have Watched Again and Again:
I’m going to divide this up into chunks of time since, really, I watch too many movies. This is probably the only part of this post where I could go on and on and on without let up, and even the answers I give will seem extremely limited. I won’t be happy with any of the answers alone…

  1. High School. Highlander. I couldn’t even tell you how many times we watched this. For quite a long time it was almost a weekly ritual. There can be only one!
  2. College. The Princess Bride and Heathers. Two of the most quotable movies in my life for a really long time. Eskimo! Another good one from this time was Dangerous Liasons.
  3. Early San Francisco. The Matrix and Starship Troopers. Although The Matrix has sort of dropped off the radar after its sequels came out and I got disillusioned with it, Starship Troopers will still come out when Mookee and I are drinking. Man, we drank a lot of Weinhards beer watching these…
  4. Late San Francisco. The Fifth Element and About a Boy. I have quite a large collection of DVDs at this point, and for some reason whenever I feel stuck on what I want to watch I keep coming to these two. There are tons of other movies I’ll watch again and again, but these two keep drawing me back.

Four Places I Have Lived:
I’ve grown up moving a lot. Comes from my Dad being in the military. Until I came to San Francisco, in fact, I hadn’t stayed anywhere more than a couple years. So here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Seoul, Korea. We lived here the first time in my preteen years. It was a brilliant time when our family pulled together. I consider my years extremely formative and can see so much of who I am today coming from those three years.
  2. Athens, Ohio. This is where I went to college. First relationships, life long friends, and loads of stories as we all started discovering our first tastes of independence.
  3. Prague, Czech Republic. Finally out of college I went to Prague. There’s so much that happened there I don’t even know what to say. So I won’t.
  4. San Francisco, California. I had a hard time picking between here and Washington, DC, but I have to choose SF. I’ve been here 10 years this month which is more than twice as long as anywhere I’ve ever lived before. For those who know me that speaks volumes.

Four Shows I Love to Watch:
This is the hardest one for me to answer because I don’t watch television. Seriously. So many of these will be “expired” shows. I think each of my shows depended hugely on their ensemble cast. There is no mistake that they are all science fiction, too. Honorable mention to Stargate.

  1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I loved this show. I think this is one of the very first American shows that had an angry black male in the lead role. It also had an angry Klingon, but that’s another story.
  2. Space: Above and Beyond. This, along with the next entry, are two shows that were given only (merely?) a single season yet I thought were amazing. S:AaB took war into space with all its ugliness, heroism, humanism, and reality. I wish they’d been given a chance to at least end the series properly.
  3. Firefly. What a show. While it started kind of awkwardly it sucked me in and didn’t let go. The idiots at Fox television made such a huge mistake in cancelling this and S:AaB above.
  4. Battlestar Galactica, old and new. I love these. I remember being allowed to stay up and watch the original series with my parents. I think it was the first show we ever watched as a family. And the new series… Well, if you’ve been reading this blog at all you know what a huge fan I am.

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:
I haven’t had a lot of real vacations in my life. I’m not much of a vacation kind of guy. Aside from yearly trips up to Tahoe to snowboard, here are a few of my more memorable trips.

  1. Okinawa, Japan. My Dad, brother and I went to Okinawa when we were stationed in Korea the first time. My brother and I were so bloody excited to eat at a McDonalds again, much to Dad’s chagrin, but really, the whole trip was amazing. The place was so shockingly green in color…
  2. Chejudo, Korea. We went one summer break from college when I was back in Korea. The island is well and truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth and almost completely unknown outside of Korea and Japan.
  3. Oahu, Hawaii. Annemone and I visited my brother and his family when they were stationed at Pearl Harbor and went around the island. I loved visiting but I don’t think I could ever live there; too insular (which is quite an appropriate word if you know Latin).
  4. Paris, France and Prague, Czech Republic. Though part of my trip earlier this summer was for work, I did take some time off and fell in love with Europe all over again.

Four of my Favorite Foods:
I’m not really a

  1. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. For years as a kid this is what I had on my birthday every year. I will still eat a whole box of it every other week or so…
  2. Steak. Almost any kind of steak. Mmmm… meat.
  3. Chocolate covered cherries. These things are like crack to me. I’m eating some now.
  4. Lasagna. I don’t know what it is about lasagna. Amazing. Safeway makes an amazing vegetarian lasagna. I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch but this stuff is addictive. I’ve even gotten friends hooked on it.

Four of my Favorite Drinks:

  1. Jolt Cola. I wish this stuff were more widely available out here. I’d drink it to the exclusion of almost anything else.
  2. Coffee. Love it. Live it.
  3. Fermented and unfermented red grape. I love red wine, almost any kind of varietal. Also in the last year I’ve been drinking gallon on gallon of grape juice. It’s actually helped me cut the amount of Coke I drink dramatically.
  4. Coca Cola. I do still drink Coke, though. I used to drink tons of it (since Jolt is hard to find) but in the past few years I just have some with lunch. Sadly (?) I don’t even always finish the bottle I start anymore.

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:

  1. Paris.
  2. Prague.
  3. New Zealand.
  4. Asleep.

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging:
Let’s see if I can break the bad luck I have getting others to take this up…

  1. Carlos Costa at Population Statistic. Let’s see how adorkable his lists are. :)
  2. Kevin at Humble Tidbits of Vacuity. I can’t wait to hear more about his vacations.
  3. Mr. Brown at Brown That Banana. Really I just want to see what pictures he uses.
  4. Banana Boy over at Banana Land. Nothing to do with Mr. Brown’s blog. I keep hoping he’ll do one of these.
7 Comments | Catergorized: college  dc  family  food-drink  friends  korea  life  movies  paris  prague  san francisco  tahoe  tv  work


On the East Coast

I’m on the East Coast spending the holidays with family here outside of DC. Posting may be random, but I’m sure you’ll all live.

I watched Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion (I think it was a BBC production) on the flight. It’s funny… I agree with him on most points but he can be such an intellectually superior prig. I think that is one of the biggest problems with his (and many other’s) point of view; it comes off as so bloody condescending. A shame because, like I said, I basically agree with him.

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Now They Know How DC Feels

How sad. Some poor town in Texas is suffering because they can’t tax properly. Too many churches which pay no taxes what-so-ever. Aw, poor babies. Now they know how Washington, DC feels. I don’t mean that federal seat of power for America, but the city itself. Imagine trying running a world class city in a town where you have the tax exempt status covering the federal buildings, embassies, thousands of non-profits and more churches than you would expect. A city where most of the people you see on the streets at any given time probably don’t live in the city and yet are using the city resources.

When I lived in DC I always felt they needed some way to get more revenue from somewhere but there really isn’t much they can do. I’m sure these folks in Stafford, TX are really nice folks, but I just can’t feel too much sympathy. I do notice a load of irony, though. I wonder if they do, too.

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Back From DC

National Building Museum, Washington DC
National Building Museum
I’m back from my little vacation in the Washington, DC area. It was good to see my family and awesome to see Ann again. The picture is at the National Building Museum and shows the 75 foot columns inside in the gallery. It’s one of the few museums I’d never been to when I lived in DC. The outside is really not too remarkable, but when you walk inside you are met with this amazing view. It’s quite impressive. Now I understand why the Presidential inaugural ball is held there.

Ann and I also went off on our own around Dupont Circle, my old stomping grounds. It was strange to see how much and how little had changed. Gabriel’s was gone (where Jon E. and briefly myself) worked. Afterwards and Trio’s are still in place. The mansion next to where I used to live that my Mom almost bought is going to pot, but around the corner the mansion that had been boarded up for… well, for forever it seemed, is renovated and being used by the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Very cool since I really hoped it would be used again someday.

Meanwhile it looks like there have been script updates and I have much email to catch up on. I was rather remiss in my writing (blogging and other stuff) while away. I will try to catch up.

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Rail Systems in Decline

Once upon a time in America there were rail systems in many major cities around the country. In many ways we looked very European with our trams plying streets and roads between businesses and residential areas. You can still see the relics of these rail systems in some places like the famous trolleys and fuctional light rails in San Francisco or the tracks peeking out from under the poorly kept pavement under the streets of Georgetown.

In these days of much needed public transportation to help the rich folks get their under paid workers where they need them, you’d think that public transportation would be in everyone’s interest. Yet the bus syndicates, partly helped by the oil conglomerates, killed the street car system almost everywhere. “We can do it cheaper and faster,” they said, “These rails are in the way and the trams are loud and unsightly.” They claim buses are faster and more maneuverable.

Yet they clogged the streets with their traffic, clogged the air with their pollution, and are almost never on time. When I lived in Prague I could look at a schedule and know exactly when the tram would show up. In some cases we waited before leaving because the tram was actually ahead of schedule. If I look at a schedule for a bus I’m wasting my time. They don’t wait if they are ahead of schedule, they are usually behind schedule, and if it’s rush hour just forget it; you’re faster on foot.

In this city I see thriving communities along the rail lines with a nice mix of residential and small business. If there is any of this along the bus lines then it seems built up because of sheer attrition. No one here wants to take a bus. America needs to get rid of them in her urban environments. We need and deserve something better than the bus systems municipalities were convinced to get.

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At the Indian Museum

A few days ago my parents and I went to the new Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Sadly it was very crowded and the space doesn’t lend itself to crowds. It would have also been nice to see some more historic exhibits instead of the “life sucked for a long time, but this is what we’re up to now to try and make things better” dispalys that they had.

What I thought was somehow strange was seeing a small pack of Mormon missionaries wandering about the halls. In case you’re missing the point, the Mormons have a slight prejudice against Indians. I wonder what they were thinking?

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today, like yesterday, i watched alot of movies.

yesterday i watched an anime called now and then, here and there. it started off with a goofy introduction and i was thinking this was going to turn out to be a young teen anime. quickly it changed and started dealing with more interesting themes, like their war fought by children abducted from their homes. i was shocked and suprised that they even introduced a character who is raped and a king who is a touch insane, killing a cat when he can’t have his way. the story is a bit simplistic so far, as is the actual animation, but shows alot of promise. i’ll probably pick up the rest of the series.

then today i watched from hell, the movie adapted from alan moore and eddie campbell’s graphic novel about jack the ripper. very nicely done, with a good documentary as well about jack. i also watched behind enemy lines. very entertaining, but mostly only that. i am a bit confused why people were concerned about it’s release after the september 11th attacks. just because something deals with the military people tend to get overly sensitive.

meanwhile here are some articles claiming to be able to show the relation of men to marriage. this first one says that men are more than happy just living with the woman. they get all the benefits of a marriage without any of the hassle of a potential divorce. this second article goes into some more specifics of that and give us 10 reasons. what was interesting to me about the articles is that i get the clear feeling that i am marriage material.

now on to political things, specifically foreign policy. here’s an article that says we should take another look at iran and our relation to that country and it’s government. it always struck me as strange that we had such a bad relationship with them, despite the terrorist support (which in reality every muslim country has supported at some point) and despite our meddling with it constantly. i thought bush made a grave error labelling it as part of an axis of evil. they are no more evil than many of our saudi friends.

i am not saying that we should just reverse policy with them, but maybe it’s time we started looking at how to make the muslim world’s most democratic country more of a supporter than an enemy.

and finally this article, which is more for my family in the DC area than anyone else (unless you, too, live in the DC area). beware of fishies crossing the road…

in case you couldn’t tell, i am starting to reference more articles i find on the web, giving commentary, and just pointing out interesting stuff (interesting to me at least). this is one of the things that you’ll find in this “new” and “improved” journal. at some point i’ll even give more thought to the commentary i write and you will find occassional links to essays i hope to write.

Comments Off on 2002.06.30 | Catergorized: anime  dc  life  movies  political
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