with 'living' tag

but no picket fences

the rowan lofts are having an auction on february 8, 2009 to try and get enough units sold so that they don’t have to follow the path of some other recent developments and open as a rental property. this article in the downtown news has a bit more of the details.

i am starting to get the itch to own instead of rent. the place we are in now is feeling very temporary, and that hasn’t helped motivate us to unpack everything.

unfortunately, most of what we would have for a down payment is currently tied up in paint, canvas, brushes, and other art supplies.

there would be something to ending up back at 5th and spring.


the other day, my fiancée celia said she was surprised that i hadn’t been writing anything about what she’s been working on. the biggest reason is just that i’m not sure how much i can say — she always obfuscates things and i wouldn’t want to screw things up by saying the wrong thing about the wrong person.

early in the whole writing process of her current project, about the time we were getting our engagement party together, i was fixing some rice krispie treats in the kitchen area of my old loft. i heard this thud which sounded exactly like a body falling on concrete. when i turned around, i saw she was sprawled out on the floor. my first thought is that it was a very odd pratfall, but once i got over to make sure she was okay and it was clear she had fainted, it became a lot less funny.

she has been fine since then, even through six more months of rewrites. and now she is once again close to the finish line (and it looks like it might not move once she reaches it this time) — until it moves on to the next stage and there are more rewrites.

i read most of the iterations of the script, except for the last few. it is interesting to see the process, and to see how it compares and contrasts with the types of projects i’ve done. unsurprisingly, i guess, you see the same sorts of dysfunctions (problems with decision making, shifting deadlines, communication breakdowns, etc).

she has been off at dov s-s simens two-day film school this weekend, and then it’s time for one more round of script polishing before it goes out to be read by important people.

wearing your price tag on your sleeve

dropsend is a web-based service for sending large files. carson systems, who created and run the service, are in the process of selling it. they’re blogging the process.

it is sometimes hard to not feel like i am wasting my time (again) in a company where i hold a very small equity stake. (technically, not even that. just options on a very small stake.)

but there are more important things: two months, four days.

sunset at pechanga

sunset at pechanga i’ve been very busy. the main time-suck has been moving, complicated by the lack of a working elevator in our building (which is now mostly fixed, finally).

after our second big day of moving (cleaning out my fiancée celia’s place at the alexandria), we took the members of the lemon-butter club, who did most of the heavy lifting, to pechanga resort & casino so they could do some damage to the buffet.

much better

fridge and painted wall this is a much happier picture than the previous one. our new refrigerator in our newly-painted kitchen.

the paint color is behr’s “green tea.”

we’re planning to use the same color in the bathrooms and the bedroom (and probably the storeroom).

the rest of the kitchen isn’t nearly as clean.

at least it’s not on fire

air conditioner in penthouse

rather than show you a picture of our freshly-painted kitchen (with its new refrigerator and water cooler), i’ll instead share the fright that is the air conditioner in another room. there was actually a full frame around it before i got to it, but the left and bottom parts of the frame, which held a broken sheet of plastic, were actually just sort of glued on to the wall. so when i was prepping the room to paint it, i went a little nuts and ripped them out. parts of the wall went along for the ride. i haven’t figured out how to deal with this. i don’t think my little can of spackle is up to it.

i guess i’ll just have to buy a bigger can.

movin’ on up

my fiancée celia and i weren’t really planning on finding a new place to live together until after our wedding, but sometimes opportunity knocks and you’re smart enough to answer.

our friend adam has quit his job and is about to embark on an around-the-world tour (starting in rarotonga and including a bunch of other amazing stops — and hopefully he’ll be blogging the whole thing). that meant the lease on his amazing penthouse was ripe for a friendly takeover. that’s the site of our engagement party and where celia and i first met, so this space that was already very special to us will also be home.

we’ve already been daydreaming about how we want to make use of all of the space we’ll have. but first we have to take care of a few practical needs, like a refrigerator.

one other wrinkle is that my lease in my current loft isn’t actually up until the end of october, so i may end up paying rent on two places for a couple of months unless i can find someone to take over here. if you want a view like this, let me know.

lists of four things about los angeles

clouds, palms, and skyline

my girlfriend celia tagged me with the “meme/chain letter/time suck that’s been going around.” if you read closely, you’ll notice that i have mutated it slightly.

four jobs i’ve had in my life in los angeles: programmer at mysql, programmer at homepage.com, programmer at knowledge adventure, and college (public) relations intern at harvey mudd college.

four movies about los angeles i could watch over and over: crazy/beautiful, repo man, assault on precinct 13, and collateral.

four places i’ve lived all over los angeles (with food memories from each): downtown los angeles, where i still haven’t exhausted the possibilities (but engine co. no. 28 has really won me over); north hollywood, where i discovered chinese deli t&d way too late in my stay; glendale, where i had many great lunches with my coworkers from knowledge adventure, the best at places whose names i don’t remember; and claremont, where making milkshakes at platt (the school cafeteria) probably caused my lactose intolerance.

four los angeles-themed shows i love(d) to watch: boomtown, the shield, 24 (and none of this “only the first season” weaseling — i still love it), and entourage.

four places i would vacation at in los angeles: downtown, the beach, the hills, and downtown. (i’d have added disneyland and laguna beach like celia, but that’s orange county….)

four los angeles-based websites i visit daily: 5th and spring, l.a. observed, blogdowntown, and sha in la. (but to be honest, i use blo.gs to only visit them when they’ve updated.)

four of my favorite foods found in los angeles: strawberry donut from donut man (aka foster’s) in glendora, meat loaf at engine co. no. 28 in downtown los angeles, everything at chinese deli t&d in north hollywood, and celia’s white chocolate sweet potato cake and lasagna.

four places in los angeles i would rather be right now: the central library rotunda, the city hall observation deck, the watercourt at california plaza, and wherever celia is.

four los angeles-based charities you should support: los angeles conservancy, library foundation of los angeles, childrens hospital los angeles, and the midnight mission. (i could go on.)

tagged: shannon, ask, dave (eecue), and eric.



2005 in review: life

three best things about the last year: getting my camera, meeting shannon, and meeting celia.

honorable mention would go to selling blo.gs. (but after six months, it means the most to me as the catalyst for getting the camera.)

worst thing about the last year: the intense dissatisfaction.

holiday spirit

this washington post article talks about things some downtown (washington) apartment buildings do to build community.

one of my neighbors has a christmas wreath hanging on their door — on the inside. the door has a translucent window, so you can see the silhouette of the wreath.

what does that say about community?


is it a bad sign when it is not even noon on the first day of a four-day weekend, and you’re already out of things to do?


my jaw dropped when this los angeles downtown news article claimed a 400 ft² apartment at the medici was going for $1709/month, but it turns out to be not quite right: it’s a 481 ft² apartment for $1709/month.

okay, that’s still crazy.

minty freshness

a bottle of freshburst listerine leapt to its doom in my bathroom and nearly half of it spilled out. so now my whole apartment smells minty.

not bursting into tears

i went up to hollywood to see serenity at the arclight only to find it wasn’t playing. bastards. i almost went to see wallace & gromit: the curse of the were-rabbit instead, but the next showtime wasn’t for almost two hours.

so i got sucked into amoeba records instead. the damage:

i also finally got some reasonable placemats for my kitchen table. next thing you know, i’ll get some dirt and gravel and actually plant the herbs in the portable herb garden in the center of the kitchen table. or maybe that will take another few years.

you’re allowed to hate me, i do

i still have three weeks of vacation time to use between now and the end of the year. i can roll over a week of that to next year (which would actually add to the additional seven days i have banked from previous years).

i could take the week after my birthday off to wallow.

i could take every friday off.

i could take the last week of the year off and go home again.

i could take the days of the library docent training off.

such are the travails of an ascetic lifestyle with a turgid budget.

i need to fix this painful unwillingness of mine to do interesting things on my own.

i can’t believe that anyone still reads all this angsty bullshit.

i can’t believe i’m still writing all this angsty bullshit.

just one of the ways i haven’t gotten past being a teenager, i guess.

stupid and contagious.

in brief

before i went on vacation, i wrote myself a little note about a topic i wanted to write about. after thinking about it, i think the note covered it all: “credit. non-commercial use. bite me.”

so instead of trying to expand on that, i’m going to mop my apartment and do some laundry. and continue to listen to yoshimi battles the pink robots over and over again.

here’s a free online version of the “caring for your introvert” article by jonathan rauch that i mentioned earlier. (found by jason kottke’s readers.)

rut or routine?

the weekdays are more consistent than the weekends. weekends depend on what movies are playing, whether i need to hit trader joe’s, what books and movies i have on hand, whether i feel like baking bread and making pizza, etc.

but i’d say about 90% of my days fit these basic templates.

today will be an exception, for example — unless i flake out and forget, i’m going to head up to amoeba music and catch dengue fever.

passive-aggressive laundry behavior

when i went to move my laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, i had to remove the towels that someone had left in there. when i removed my clothes from the dryer, they were still there. i briefly considered putting the towels back into the dryer, but decided to leave them where they were so that the person who left them behind would know that they had been in the way.

i generally try to avoid messing with someone’s laundry in cases like this, but made an exception because it was just towels. i avoid it as an application of the golden rule — i don’t like the idea of someone else pawing through my clothes (when i’m not in them), so i do the same.

looking minnesota, feeling california

a very smart person recently told me that you’re considered a los angeles native after living here for three years. i’m not sure if i’d go that far, but i’m certainly closing the gap in having lived in the los angeles area longer than i lived in minnesota (14 years vs. 18 years).

but what really makes me think i’m going native is that i have caught myself being annoyed at how cold it is — and that has meant mid-to-low 70s this week.

for the record, i’m not a native minnesotan, either. i was born in florida.

here’s an interesting list of hangover remedies. and just because you take a nap after drinking in the early afternoon and wake up feeling fine, don’t think you’re out of the woods yet — there’s still plenty of time for the dehydration to kick in before morning. ugh.

speaking of slogans i should have on a t-shirt, i think i need to add “i don’t hate you” to the list.

i certainly don’t mean to lay down a heavy fuck-off vibe (usually), but sometimes i think that i must. some of those sometimes have been triggered by someone asking “why do you hate me?” even if they’re kidding, i know there is truth in humor. i guess it is the always quiet thing that sends the wrong message.

and after kicking around this idea for a couple of days, i think the slogan would be more precise, if not more concise, expanded to “i don’t hate you, i hate myself.”

who says los angeles has no seasons? it is apparently allergy season again, at least for me. ugh. hopefully i don’t have too many antihistamine-daze days in my immediate future.

maybe it’s just me, but time seems to be moving very slowly at the end of summer this year. i have a feeling i’m going to be bouncing off the walls this labor day weekend.

if the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me

this is something i’ve thought about writing about a few times, but it felt like i was running the risk of offending someone, or at least of making them uncomfortable that they had caused me to write it. c’est la vie.

file this under “things i would change about myself if i knew how” — i hate making phone calls. absolutely detest it. avoid it to the detriment of my own well-being. i still haven’t set up an appointment with accountant to get my 2004 taxes done because it involves calling to make that appointment.

it’s just one of the ways in which i wrestle with what you could call limited social energy. another is in spreading out my plans so i don’t totally short-circuit on a busy weekend. jonathan rauch’s article from the atlantic monthly, “caring for your introvert,” sort of explains the principle. (if you have a los angeles public library card, you can get the full article by doing a title search in the “magazines - general interest” databases.)

and of course, it is a lie to call it something i would change if i knew how — i do know how. like changing in any other way, it takes practice, patience, and hard work. so maybe it is something i’ll work on eventually, but for now i’m frying other fish. fixing my phone phobia can wait.

look not with the eyes, but with the mind

it occurs to me that the headaches i’ve been having recently may be a sign i’m overdue for an eye exam.

but i hope i don’t need new glasses. there are few things in life i dread more than shopping for frames.

i guess that should make something like the relens service appealing, but i don’t even particularly care for the frames i have now.

i went to hotel cafe by myself tonight, since i couldn’t find anyone else willing to go. not that i’m really fishing a well-stocked pond in that regard.

to make it brief, since i am tired and up way past my bed time: going to a bar by yourself — totally sucks. seeing terra naomi live — totally worth it.

jesca hoop was also pretty amazing.

call me helium

the bbc reports about a applying physics models to the dating world. dangerous quote: “the research suggested that multiple daters, those who form many relationships, were less effective at finding the right partner than those who remained in one place and let others come to them.”

which do you regret more: something you have done, or something you have not done?

this weblog about buying and renovating a house in alameda is a great read. it’s amazing to see the progress that has been made. that link is to the first entry, here’s the weblog itself, with the most recent entries.

although i know basically nothing about home repair and maintenance, i have the insane idea that it would be fun to do this sort of thing.

life lessons from blackjack (via jason kottke) is a good piece on exactly what the title claims.

it also flirts with the idea of living as an exercise in optimization, which is something on my mind a lot. the context of how i’ve been thinking about that is just recognizing how much of an underachiever i am, and deciding how comfortable i am with that. (and the answer to that may just be “too comfortable.”)

lance arthur has wrapped up his “guide to man grooming” with a two-part final installment on clothing accessories and shirts, pants, and suits. sage advice, i guess. surely better than any that i could give.

joel spolsky’s latest article on “hitting the high notes” is a good one, beating the drum on how a small team of really great programmers can do so much more than an army of mediocre ones.

throwing modesty aside, i think i’m on the productive/good/whatever side of the 10:1 ratio. it would be great if i weren’t totally sick of computers and programming and all this crap i am apparently quite good at.

i am reminded of my national merit scholarship essay, and what a crock it was then, and especially now. my life is bowling balls all the way down.

potter at the gym

this morning at the gym, i noticed that the people on both sides of me when i was on the elliptical machine were reading the latest harry potter book. (i’m sure the girl on my left was, and am less certain about the guy on my right.)

i don’t understand how people can read while exercising. i can barely concentrate on music. my mind just tends to wander rather freely.


i think the heat is melting my brain. i’ve been in a pretty foul mood all week. my apartment has these heater/cooler unit things, but i generally avoid using them because they don’t really have a thermostat. what i sometimes do is crank the one near my bed up for a while to cool things down before i go to sleep. besides apparently causing a foul mood, the heat doesn’t bother me all that much except when i’m trying to go to sleep.

i have a feeling i’ll have more use for them next week when they’re going to be washing the windows in my building during the day and i have to keep my windows closed. no breeze for me.

but it looks like it will be cooler next week, if the dashboard weather widget is to be believed.

genetics are a harsh mistress

awake before 6am, struggling (and often failing) to stay awake until 11pm.

the benefit of working from home is that i never use caffeine to wake up in the morning — just to stay awake at night. (and not very often for that.)

current favorite song: “goodnight and go” by imogen heap.

skipping beats, flashing jeeps
i am struggling
daydreaming, been sitting, the corner cafe
and i’m left in bits, recovered tectonic, trembling
you get me everytime

“i get very infatuated with people i come in contact with every day. someone i work with, someone i see regularly, someone i don’t even talk to. i develop ‘crushes’ on almost anyone mildly attractive or interesting, with no real reason. it always last for long periods of time and it’s pretty pathetic really. my way of dealing with it is to never act on it and never discuss it in any way, with anyone, ever.” — “puke & cry” answering a question about crushes on askmefi.

a little bit crazy

the national institute of mental health (the ones with the rats) put out a study that says a quarter of all americans met the criteria for having a mental illness in the last twelve months.

recently i filled up the very large (three liter?) wine bottle in which i’ve been collecting pennies, nickels, and dimes. so i’ve dumped it all out, sorted it out by type, and am putting it into piles of ten.

dimes are pretty amazingly space-efficient. there was over $90 in dimes in the bottle.

but all this counting is for naught, really. i will probably take the coins with me to a coinstar location tomorrow and donate it all to the world wildlife fund.

and i’ve already started refilling the bottle with new coins.

my fat right foot

i got a new pair of shoes today, and the first pair i tried on shared a trait with the last pair i bought, with the right shoe being too tight. i found a pair of nike shoes that fit better, but i decided to measure my feet. it turns out my right foot is nearly ½" wider than my left.

so i guess that sideshow freak is now a career path that is open to me.

watch those pronouns

i broke my bed this weekend.

now i need to decide whether to try to fix the frame (a board broke), replace it with a similar frame, or get an all-new bed.

how not to recover from jet lag

take allergy medication during the middle of the day that you know will knock you out.

i found it fairly difficult to get past the self-satisfied writing in this la weekly article about main street in downtown (via blogdowntown).

i wouldn’t characterize the old bank district lofts as particularly fancy, as the writer does. one of the things that attracted me to them is that they are pretty basic.

and alice callahan comes across as a tremendous jerk for someone who provides social services to the homeless. i’m glad i don’t share that zero-sum view of the world.

the mathmos tumbler is a very cool little light. it’s basically a rechargable brick that glows in one of nine different colors depending on which side you place it. (some sides alternate between two different colors each time you flip it to that side.)

spring has sprung

which means that i’ve entered allergy hell until my system readjusts.

but today was “spring on spring,” a self-guided walking tour of various places on spring street in downtown. almost all of the places on the tour were notable, including the stock exchange nightclub, which is on what used to be the trading floor of the pacific stock exchange, with the four trading desks turned into bars; the vault of the old los angeles trust and savings bank that is being turned into a bar by the same folks that are behind the golden gopher; the lobby of the el dorado hotel, which is being converted into for-sale lofts; and one of the finished lofts in the douglas building (which is amazing, but $400,000 for 1200ft²?). the disappointment was the lofts in the mercantile arcade building, which were just badly finished.

with all this residential and retail activity, i’d wish somebody would open a decent video rental store already. it’s the idea that just won’t die.

prepaid plans and subscriptions as self-imposed consumption quotas

like i said, midas world is thought-provoking. and as i was juggling a few items in my long-neglected netflix queue, i started to wonder if you couldn’t think about monthly service plans as a sort of self-imposed consumption quota.

(downtown los angeles still badly needs a video rental store.)

2 is the new 1

well, that’s a logical reduction of this article from the new york times about how $200,000 is the new $100,000 when it comes to salaries.

an interesting thing to think about is how you would change your spending if your income suddenly doubled. would you spend twice as much, or work half as long? (or somewhere in between?)

why sell

there have been two common responses to my decision to sell blo.gs. the first has just been “why, the hosting costs or the time?” the short answer is the time. while i tossed out the number of $3500 of what the costs of the service have been, it’s good to realize that goes back to november 2002, and includes the original cost of the server that it is running on. cash-flow wise, the service loses about $20 per month (together with this site, since they’re hosted on the same machine and both run google ads). if i keep this server, i’ll actually be spending more on hosting once blo.gs is gone.

but that’s not to say that the site takes a lot of time, either. the only real ongoing maintenance is handling requests to clean up duplicate or bad entries, and dealing with the occassional database hiccup. but it could take a lot of time, and this is where i think the site would be better off without me. i’m just not willing to put in the time to make the site and its services better.

so that brings me to the second common response, which has been offers to host the site while letting me keep control of it. as you might guess from my time vs. money explanation above, that doesn’t do anything to address why it is i’m selling the site. so while i appreciate those offers, they don’t interest me.

i’m sure i’ll have to say more about this later. the response so far has been interesting.

the first pancake

when you make pancakes, the first pancake is always a tricky one — you’re not really sure how hot the griddle is, the look and timing of when to flip is a little hazy, and it always turns out a little over- or under-done.

not today. today i made the perfect first pancake.


i know that the cool thing to do is to ditch your wired phone and go wireless, but i’ve gone the other route and cancelled my cell service. i’ll be selling the handset for $65. i’ll probably end up picking up a pre-paid cell phone somewhere along the line.

i’m tempted to cancel my normal phone service as well, and just rely on my work voip phone, but that probably wouldn’t be appreciated. i need to look into solutions like the sipura spa-2000 that would apparently let me connect to the work voip service and another voip service like voicepulse and treat them as two analog lines. i’d be more excited about it if i used my phone at all. as it is, i rarely pay anything other than the basic monthly rate for my phone service, so switching to voip would basically be a wash. (and actually a loss, once you factor in the activiation fee and equipment.)

phone companies (cell, voip, or otherwise) need a “hermit” level of service where you pay more in per-minute charges, but the monthly fees are minimal.

the los angeles times takes a look at the plight of downtown residents who still have cars (via eric richardson). i feel like i should have more to say about the article, being someone that lives downtown without a car, but i can’t say that i do.

my favorite quote from this wired article about bram cohen, creator of bittorrent: “She pats her husband affectionately on the head: ‘My sweet little autistic nerd boy.’” lucky guy.

evan williams says faxing sucks. i agree completely. organizations and people that ask me to fax them something make me nuts.

one of my favorite parts of the week magazine is a section they call “best properties on the market,” which shows a handful of homes fitting a certain category (southern plantations, homes that look like castles, etc). but the best part is the “steal of the week,” which are often homes that have surprisingly low prices. one that was featured recently is the angus h. currie house in maxton, north carolina — $180,000. you couldn’t buy a cardboard box for $180,000 in los angeles, and this place is over 4,000 square feet.

ralphs delayed (again)

according to the latest los angeles downtown news, the opening of the downtown los angeles ralphs location is delayed until at least summer 2006. that has to hurt the folks who have been touting it as a big draw for residents. personally, i see it as an opportunity for smaller retailers to fill the niche, which i think would be much better for downtown in the long run.

also: the giant penny building to be converted to condominiums.

if (when?) the bottom drops out of this downtown development boom, it’s not going to be pretty.

i guess i’ll jump on the la insight bandwagon this time.

1. Do you own a winter jacket? no. the closest i’ve got is a fleece jacket that i was cajoled into buying on january 1, 2000, in morro bay. when i go home to minnesota over the holidays, my family generally brings a warm coat to the airport for me.

2. Do you like the winter mountain sports? Skiing, boarding, sledding, snowshoe, etc... i enjoyed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing when i did it in the past, but it’s not something i do regularly. (and sledding is fun, of course.)

3. Big Bear, Mammoth or other? no.

4. Favorite hot drink? there’s no hot drink that i have regularly. i do enjoy hot chocolate, but there’s the whole lactose thing to contend with.

5. Heater setting? mostly off. i’ve been turning it on a few times in the morning, with dial set about halfway along the heat side of the dial. (my apartment is big, and the heaters are sort of pathetic. it’s easier to just put a jacket on.)

6. At night, more blankets, more pajamas, more heater are all of the above? blankets. (and the heater is off at night. i love the feeling of a warm bed in a cold room.)

7. Do you go out and enjoy the cold or bundle up and stay inside? i just go on as usual. (although i’ve taken to heading to the gym later in the day instead of first thing in the morning, to avoid the early-morning chill.)

8. Cold temps. Stay for a while or bring back the 70s? bring back warmer weather. (and yes, i know what we’re have is not in a real sense “cold” to those of you from actual cold climates.)

be my neighbor

the entrance to the “stunning huge loft in downtown la” in this craigslist search is just across the stairwell from me. i’ve always wondered if the hallway is included in the square foot calculation for that unit.

my old floor lamp is falling apart, so i’m looking at replacements. one that looks interesting is the meridian floor lamp, which is of the big-tube-of-light variety. looking at all the floor lamps at this particular online store, i am impressed at how expensive some of them are. the zig nine light floor lamp is pretty cool, but $1000 each? yikes.

being taunted by another company

last month, i more or less decided that i want to buy a digital projector, in particular the benq pb6200. there was a $200 rebate running until the end of october, but i was still waffling about the decision then, and decided to wait until november and see what rebate offer they came up with for november, because as you can see, they’ve had a rebate every month this year. except that the current offer is still the one for october, which is no longer valid. curses!

i've been thinking it would make sense to just scan all of my personal records and have them stored on computer, rather than having folders full of receipts and such. with a little bit of open-source ocr software thrown at it, it could even be indexed.

it’s just an idea, though. it’s about as likely to get done as all of the other bits of data collection and reporting i’d love to do. i just recently got around to writing the little perl script to pull data from yahoo! finance and tell me how my investments are performing.

this article from business 2.0, “the new road to riches”, discusses the build-it-small-and-get-acquired method of business development. fabulous idea.

this being october, the intertwined topics of what i want from my life and what i should be doing with my life are on my mind. there is little question to me that i am underachieving right now.

jason fried’s missive on not forgetting the human side of scalability is another good lesson to be stirring into this pot. but is a team of one too small?

phone home

every once in a while, i poke around on amazon to find a new cordless phone (perhaps a multi-handset one). then i see that they all have caller id screens, and get annoyed at how much caller id costs. what earthly reason is there for caller id costing over $6 per month?

another thing i’m considering doing is ditching my monthly cell phone plan and just getting a prepaid card whenever i’m going to be on the road. one problem is that the prepaid plans don’t appear to offer any international service. (i know i can just buy prepaid cards in whatever country i happen to travel to, but that doesn’t really help people trying to reach me.)

i think i could add up all of the time i’ve used on my cell phone since i got it (over a year ago, now), and it wouldn’t exhaust what i’m paying to get each month.

appointment day

today was the day for scheduling appointments: dentist on september 27 (way too long since my last visit), physical on october 18 (actually has only been about 16 months since my last), and taxes on october 14 (the day before they’re due!).

i’m on a roll. i should figure out other things i need to make appointments to do.

the hsu research ventriloquist vt-12 looks like a pretty cool set of surround-sound speakers. i have a hard time visualizing where i would place the speakers, though.

i find it funny when i read a review of home-theater equipment that talks about using matrix revolutions for testing. i guess the movie has that as a redeeming quality.

this response to a news article about redeveloping an area in the miami area is spot on. (via hit & run.)

my morning exercise routine consists of 30 minutes on a lifefitness 95xi, usually in the “cascades” hill mode at level 12. (i don’t own the machine, i walk five blocks to the downtown ymca. since it is up a hill from me, that also serves as my warmup and cool-down.)

i had gone into this exercise thing with the idea that a recumbent bike would be for me, but i found it to be less than satisfying. part of it was because my right foot would often cramp up, for no apparent reason.

ask got a digital projector for watching movies and playing games, and reports great satisfaction.

i wonder if it is worth saving money on the projector in favor of getting a screen at the same time. (that is, whether a lower cost projector plus a screen is a better investment than a higher cost projector alone.)

with bulbs going for $300 a piece, it's probably only a matter of time until they start pricing the projectors even lower (and adding circuitry to tie you to the vendor's replacement bulbs...).

i'll probably wait for sony's black screen hits the market before going to a projector, but making the move to a projector is very much on my mind. there’s just not a whole lot i can do to cut down the ambient light in my apartment, especially during the day.

snoopy as fine art

a year ago, i stumbled across the martin lawrence gallery at universal citywalk, and at the venetian, i also stumbled into a gallery, which had lithographs by tom everhart that are based on the peanuts characters, and are absolutely amazing. i really liked the squeeze the day suite, although all of the pieces they had on display were fantastic.

inventory (rounded up)

one week later

  1. missed target. soon.
  2. no more back pain.
  3. allergies under control
  4. nothing to see here.
  5. weather still really nice.

i have to write my presentation for next week. but soon i should have a shiny new (well, refurbished) laptop to write it on.

my schedule is now all out of whack. stupid farmers.

i’m rethinking my move-everything-to-td waterhouse plan, even though i’ve already opened the accounts. i’m really underwhelmed by their online site and just their overall design aesthetic. and the level of integration between the banking and brokerage accounts is pretty meager.

everbank is an online bank that also offers accounts and certificates of deposit denominated in other currencies.

my current plan is to do my banking at everbank and trading at ameritrade. i’m going to sort out the banking before dealing with ameritrade, though.

top 5 reasons why this week will suck

  1. major site redesign targetted for completion by end-of-week
  2. my back has apparently gotten reinjured (crossing my fingers it’s just a little strained and there hasn’t been a new herniation)
  3. allergy season has hit full-bore
  4. there is no fourth reason
  5. the weather is really, really nice outside
  6. i just need to survive until april 14. orlando. followed by cancun.

the tinted glass version of the celestion soundstyle speakers went on sale. $80 off. the beech version (sold out) is still on sale for $400 off. i think i’m being taunted by a fortune 500 company.

vonage softphone on mac via danny o’brien.

i’m still holding out for some sort of directivo/vonage solution that does not involve standing on one’s head.

try not to get the song stuck in your head

so my earlier comment about there not being a gym near my apartment turned out to be a little too pessimistic. the stuart m. ketchum downtown ymca is a half mile from my door (or six short blocks).

so now my regular morning routine should include heading up there to exercise in some way. right now, that just means hopping on an exercise bike or something along those lines. some day i’ll figure out the whole deal with the heavy things.

i like this quote from this bbc article on academic research into how people use music players:

“Donning a pair of earbuds also grants a certain amount of licence. They let listeners become witnesses without the risk of getting too involved. The earphones absolve them of some responsibility.”

yeah, that pretty much nails it for me.

it seems quite odd that the tinted glass version of the celestion soundstyle floor speakers cost twice as much as the beech version. (the beech version is on sale, the tinted glass version is not.)

best buy doesn’t appear to sell the speaker stands for the rear speakers, either, although they are the only us retailer.

it’s too bad — they look like really nice speakers, but i would greatly prefer the tinted glass version.

apartment gardening

now that i’m in an apartment that gets a lot of light, it occurs to me that i should really get some plants. there’s a couple of large stretches of windows (12' each) that it would be cool to pack with plants. even better if some of them are edible.

i don’t have a great history with plants. at my last apartment, i had one plant on my balcony that eventually died. i didn’t water it often enough because i almost never went out on the balcony, and it probably didn’t get much in the way of light (a combination of the north-facing balcony and the walls on the balcony being just as tall as the plant).

i’ll have to check out the los angeles flower district. the floracle at windowbox.com provided numerous suggestions.

you’ll have to dig into the site to find it (it’s flash-driven), but the twist together lamp from glide is very clever. i like the rechargable-battery-powered part that charges when connected to the rest.

hello, mr. winslead

my bank returned a check (the refund on the security deposit from my last apartment) that was made out to “jim winslead” because “the check is made payable to a party not registered on your account.” very annoying.

working out

one of the criteria i had when setting out to find a new place to live was “close to gym.” it was down there on the priority list (even lower than it was on the list in that entry, really), mostly because i think my definition of “close” with regards to a gym was pretty stringent. i’m just as close to a few gyms now as i am to the central library, but while i drop in at the library once in a while, i can’t see myself going to one of the nearby gyms regularly, even though they’re about the same distance away.

the biggest factor is that i’m just not comfortable at a gym. it is an environment that plays into the worst of my insecurities. would the situation really be different even if there were a gym in my building? i’m not sure, but i lean towards doubting it.

so i’m thinking of getting an exercise bike, perhaps a recumbant one. the proform crosstrainer 55 seems to get pretty good reviews and is in a reasonable price range. the danger, of course, is that i end up with a $400 purchase that ends up collecting dust in a corner.

and while i’m bringing up the criteria i had set out, i have to say i really hit it out of the park on “morning light.” i get an amazing amount of light in my apartment.

i’m out of salt. what a dumb thing to not have.

speaking of normal

the motley fool has a nice article on what a typical (average) “consumer unit” (household) spends and makes per year. it shouldn’t be a huge shock to learn that the norm appears to be a negative cash flow. they don’t discuss any historical trends of this data, which would be interesting. but don’t worry, we’re in the midst of an economic recovery. we’ll make it up in volume.

one thing missing from downtown is a trader joe’s. i can’t say enough good things about the grand central market, but there are certain items i’ve found lacking, and i know that a trader joe’s would fill in the gaps really well.

and oddly enough, none of their stores seem to be near red line stops, either.

occasional furniture

i’m not entirely sure why they’re called occassional furniture, but clearly i need a new coffee table (and possibly side table) to go with my new couch and king chair. i like the looks of the ashley antigo occassional tables, so i may have to make a trip down to the showroom to check them out.

and then there’s the matter of the office chair. another necessary pilgrimage seems to be the design within reach showroom in pasadena to check out the herman miller mirra.

obsolete electronics and other detritus

there isn’t room for my receiver, dvd player, directivo, and vcr in my television stand. i didn’t really need a vcr, anyway.

i’m making some progress on actually clearing up my multitude of boxes. part of that just involves moving boxes into the “give all this stuff away” corner. another part is unpacking parts of boxes, and then consolidating the remainder in other boxes and moving it into the “give all this stuff away” corner.

i hung my two picasso posters (prints, if you want to be snooty). with twine from electrical conduits, because the hardwall hangers (aka ursula hooks) couldn’t hang on to the hard wall. i did manage to get the pictures to hang at the same height on the wall.

i finally found the piece that allows me to attach my desk lamp to my desk, so when i work past sundown, i’m no longer literally in the dark.

the books i want to keep are outnumbered by the ones i want to get rid of by a margin of about two to one (by volume, not by number).

cement floors aren’t very forgiving of dropped jars of preserves.

this article about tom gilmore and the old bank district provides more background on where i live. related: rss feed for la downtown news.

the low-food diet and other random thoughts

forget atkins, forget low-fat. just don’t have anything in your refrigerator except a dodgy bag of carrots. i haven’t done a very good job of taking advantage of the nearby grand central market to actual re-stock my kitchen. nor have i done a very good job of actually unpacking. it won’t be long before i can no longer use having been out of the country as an excuse.

speaking of being out of the country, germany and france were both quite lovely. frankfurt wasn’t terribly exciting, but it was an attractive city (and i did escape the conference for an afternoon to walk around the city a bit with some others). france was very beautiful (as were the waitresses in france — it must be something in the water), and it was good, as always, to actually get a chance to hang out with some of my coworkers in a non-computer-mediated way.

next week i’ll be in las vegas for a few days at apachecon and comdex, and that will end my most recent spate of travel. perhaps i’ll be able to focus on actually enjoying my very enjoyable new living space.

i still haven’t upgraded to panther.

i think the clock ran out on the “Increased pizzazz makes you a magnet for new love in the next three weeks.” bit from my horoscope. perhaps this astrology stuff isn’t true.

if i were to replace my old, clunky speakers with one of those fancy small-speaker surround-sound setups, i could eliminate additional furniture from my life.

this help item from blogger.com is funny: “what to do if your mom discovers your blog...” i like the idea of going multi-lingual. (the blogger item was inspired by this story at the onion.)

i’m way too far into one of those thoughts-paralyze-actions frames of mind recently.

the little things

i am without a holder for toilet paper (just the spring-loaded tube thing — the wall mounts are there) and shelves in my medicine cabinet. and the distance between the shower curtain rod and the top of the tub appears to be a few inches more than standard. (which isn’t really a problem, thanks to the shower curtain blowing in while the shower is running.)

northeast and northwest

(from here.)

northeast, with city hall in the upper left


the interior shots i took did not turn out, so that will have to wait until i start moving in.


one of the nice things about the place i’m moving into is that it is all set up for getting directv. i haven’t found out whether the way things are set up supports the dual-tuner directivo (but i’m keeping my fingers crossed). getting hbo is a given. i may also sign up for showtime, since that brings the sundance channel.

i’ve been spending a chunk of the day dealing with filing change-of-address info and setting up new services so i can move in this weekend. i’ve held off on signing up for phone service so far — i’m clinging to the idea of going wireless-only.


here’s a long piece from the los angeles times about the apparent rebirth of downtown los angeles.

this article with some quick downtown tips has some useful information, but the question about groceries has one huge oversight: it doesn’t mention the grand central market, one of the things that drew me to downtown.

my new place is in the old bank district, in the san fernando building (the same building as pete's café and bar).

things making my life difficult

reading the news about the transit strike is very frustrating. it isn’t easy to tell what are legitimate expressions of how long it may take to resolve and whether the two sides are even meeting, and what is stupid posturing.

oh yeah, i’ll be out of town nine of the eleven days remaining until i plan on moving. (the 26th, although that seems terribly optimistic. i don’t even have boxes to pack in, let alone any packing done. in any case, i’ll need to be out of my current apartment by the 31st.)

this apartment moving boxes package may solve my box problem, although timing the delivery could be a little tricky.


my current thinking is to ditch some of my current furniture when moving (or more precisely, donate it to a thrift store or something like that). a breakdown:

there’s a bunch of other stuff i plan to get rid of, too: books, old clothes, some kitchen stuff, old computer junk, etc. there’s some things i’ll end up moving that i should really unload, but don’t have time to deal with unloading right now.

of course, this all hinges on having someplace to move into. i’m close to having that solved.

a slight tangent. there appears to be two groups of people in the world: those that put their couch and television in close proximity (often in some sort of alcove), and those who put the couch and television on opposite walls.


i think i’ve found a place that i like. i need to narrow it down to which specific apartment (loft, actually) i think would work the best and drop off an application. this is at the high end of what i had gone into my search thinking of spending, but it is a really great location (downtown, a few blocks from the grand central market), and fits very close to all of the criteria i had outlined.

one thing that is enlightening about searching for an apartment is looking at the listed prices for places near where i currently live. as suspected, i am overpaying for the place i have now, and there are lots of apartments available in the area.

i haven’t given up on downtown yet, but it’s nice to know there’s a fallback in case the end of the month starts to loom.

here is an entertaining listing from craiglist.

starting slow

i signed up at (the slightly misnamed) westside rentals, and have been scoping out craigslist los angeles apartment listings.

one thing i’ve been thinking hard about is how much i’m willing to spend. if i were buying a house, apparently a lender would expect at most 29% of my gross income. what’s reasonable for rent? 15%? 20%? 25%? 30%? should i be thinking in terms of net income?

here's an interesting list of downtown los angeles residential buildings i stumbled upon. poking around on los angeles downtown news, i get the distinct impression that downtown los angeles is a hotter residential market than i imagined. lots and lots of loft projects.


right now, i’m leaning about 80% in favor of giving notice and forcing a serious search for new living arrangements.

as you might have guessed from the pictures, i spent time yesterday cruising around on the red and gold lines checking out some of the neighborhoods around various stations.

the places i think i’ll end up looking: downtown los angeles, los feliz, hollywood, north hollywood, and near the beach in san diego. that is roughly in order, although san diego is more of a wildcard than anything else. even though i’m totally unconstrained on where to live, thanks to my work-from-home job, there aren’t really any places outside of southern california that interest me enough to make up for the fact i would not have time to look into them seriously over the next month.

buying a house is not something i’m considering. although i’m not thrilled about paying rent, i’m also not necessarily planning on living in my next place long enough for buying a house to be anything other than a losing proposition given my expectations for the housing market. there’s also the little factor of my not really making or having enough to buy a house i’d want to live in.

living criteria

i may keep adding things to the list, but these are the things that came to mind first. it is roughly prioritized.