So apparently athletic folks have a longer ring finger than index finger. Mine is but I wonder if they can actually use this to predict athletic ability. One can always draw out themes after the fact.

I have one more class to attend tomorrow that I haven't yet been to. The rest have been great including the two sections of public speaking that I teach. I lucked out with students who so far seem interested, enthusiastic, and courteous.

I am looking forward to seeing Simon and heading to Vancouver this weekend for a wedding, while dreading the hours I won't be able to spend getting the hundreds of pages of reading I need to do. I could probably get more done if the asshole living downstairs would turn down his fucking stereo. He has not responded to my pounding on the floor with my fist. At least he doesn't do this late into the night. I'll give him that much.



Shipping things here it turns out is a complete nightmare. I had a port replicator coming via Fedex but since the idiots who work in the office of my apartment are never around (they're usually at the other property or just out on super long breaks) my package failed to be delivered 3 times. That means they want you to go pick up your package. Back in Foster City, that was fine. I made a 20 minute drive up to South San Fran and got my stuff. Here, the Fedex warehouse is in fucking Auburn. That is past Seatac, past Renton, past Kent a good 35 miles from my home. In fact, Auburn is not too far off from Tacoma. So I called Fedex to beg them to give me more options and ended up asking them to send my package to my school's department office. A totally big huge no no but when you freakin don't know anyone in this city, you don't have much choice. I emailed our administrator to beg forgiveness which she granted this one time. So hopefully I get my port replicator tomorrow.

OK. So now onto the mattress from JCPenney. We ordered them about 2 weeks ago and they contract a trucking company to deliver them. It took them the full 2 week window to give us a ship date. So they get here and the trucker guy looks all apologetic and waves for me to come to the truck. He explains that the mattresses came in some shitty wrapping all torn up and sort of taped up when they arrived from the JCPenney warehouse in Reno or something. The mattresses are all dirty where the tears are and he asked if I want to keep them. I decided to have him bring them up and so I can complain later. I did this knowing that companies have these stupid policies about customers paying to return merchandise regardless of reason. And the return in this case would cost a hundred bucks. I'm really pissed at JC Penney.

Oh and to top off my day, some preppy asshole gets on the elevator while we're loading up the mattresses and scoffs at the mail he's picked up from his mailbox. "Ugh" he exclaims, "junk mail from the Democrats. I never vote Democrat" and makes a dramatic motion to throw it into the recycling bin. Well I guess I know not to trash W in any small talk with that guy.


Saturday adventure

Determined to make the most of this weekend's sunshine, I started my day with a quick drive to Greenlake for a run. It's funny how, when you see an entire 2.8-mile path right before your eyes it looks more like 10. But when you actually run it, you get around the lake pretty quick. Despite minor dehydration from the 3 pints of beer I had last night at the grad pub run, and having to dodge (many really cute) dogs, strollers, and idiots walking side by side 4 abreast, I finished one loop in 31 minutes. I counted a bunch of people who lapped me but, whatever, I've never claimed to be any good at running. My roomate told me that there is a ring of thieves in Greenlake who collaborate with those who live nearby to spot runners stashing their wallets in their cars, for example under the seat, and immediately move in to break into that car. Doesn't sound like an unlikely circumstance but I'm sure when something like that happens, the story is told and retold and one incident becomes an epidemic. But better safe than sorry, I try never to bring my entire wallet when I'm parking my car to go for a run.

I spent the rest of the day downtown checking out the Central Library and it is really as amazing in person as it is in the photos on the web site. Did some reading in preparation for the class I have to teach, picked up a couple DVDs and headed back home. I watched one of them tonight,
Aishite imasu (Mahal kita) 1941. It was awesome and deserved every festival nomination it got. The story had incredible depth and complexity as did the actors. I wouldn't even know where to start in explaining it so read this instead. Such a nice change of pace from the Hollywood special effects driven America-centered trash.


weekend plans

Last weekend before classes start and I was planning to drive home for the weekend but decided against it because I really need to hunker down and prep for the quarter. Instead my plans include: join the other grad students for drinks on Friday (and trying not to drown my anxieties in beer), finish reading one of the books for one of my classes (there are 4 more to read for that one class and I need a head start), do preliminary research for my papers, review all my teaching materials, course syllabi, and handouts, cook a dish for Monday's dep't potluck, draft a plan of study (all the courses I need to take to complete the Phd), go for a run around Greenlake, visit the beautiful Seattle Library (you have to see the photos on that site), and check out the UW gym since parking will be free. That seems plenty to keep me busy.

I just got back from a 3 mile jog. The sun comes out to say hi in between rain showers so I had to take the opportunity to get out for some air. Oh yeah, with some oil of oregano, many cups of orange juice, and lots of sleep over two days, I managed to kick the cold that was coming on. Hopefully I can go another year or two, illness free.



Thanks to Robyn for this link. Minority Groups Protest ‘Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day’ on Michigan Campus (Maya are you reading this, omg!). I have to say I'm happy that I was accepted to a school in a left leaning city. I think something like that happening on my campus would really mess up my focus. I'd be out protesting and organizing and not reading, researching or writing. It's been hard to put away my activist urges to get out and help with or start a campaign in order to focus on me and my education, but in my mind, I'll be more credible and a more powerful activist if I can devote more energy to my schooling first. Hopefully when this Phd gig gets a little more familiar, I can put in a bit of time with the activist folks (*waving hello to Kai*).

So it's Wednesday today and my reliable borrowing of wifi from a neighbour has become very spotty. In fact this is my first time online from home in 48 hours and it's killing me. We signed up for Comcast 3 weeks ago, before we moved in, and they still havent come back with the DIY install kit. The mattresses we ordered online 9/14 from JCPenney, which were in stock, still have not arrived. I'm getting pretty sick of sleeping on this gigantic air mattress that takes up all the floor space in my rather small room. TA training this week has been fantastic, organized, all of that good stuff. School in general has so far been smooth sailing. That's of course because it hasn't started. I still have orientation (dep't specific) until next Monday and classes start Wednesday. Because I'll be teaching two quiz sections of 20 students each, I'm starting to wonder if I need to make my online presence a little less....out there. But the more I think about it, the more I think I shouldn't. I don't post anything overly personal and I don't talk trash about people in my life, so if students find my blog or web site, they'll just learn more about me as a person rather than a teacher and maybe see me as more human. Anyone out there have any advice?



In just one week I have managed to furnish the whole apartment and did I ever get some great deals. My finds on Craigslist:

Ikea MALM 3 drawer dresser $60
lamp, 3 wicker storage baskets, 2 large scented candles in jars, 1 toaster $35
3 Ikea LACK side tables $18
Ikea POANG chair and ottoman $25
bookshelf $20
microwave/toaster oven combo $35 (purchased after I got the toaster above)
4 Ikea HERMAN chairs $20 (for all 4)
Ikea dining table with frosted glass insert $50

Other new but still cheap purchases

full mattress $209 (incl delivery) JCPenney online
Ikea desk $129
Ikea ANEBODA bed $109
Ikea KULLEN night stand $29
Ikea table top + legs to make a low coffee table $23
Ikea LACK coffee table (used as TV stand) $29.99
really cool modern lamp that I've seen for hundreds of dollars $39.99 from Fred Meyer
Ikea laundry hamper $3.99
foldaway stool $12.99

I have become an expert in Ikea furniture assembly and have also learned the art of stud finding, drilling, and hanging stuff on drywall without a stud.

This week I'm in training to become an expert TA! The sunshine finally went to sleep and it's grey skies and showers this week but the rain here is different than in Vancouver. It comes and goes and sometimes the skies clear. Whereas in Vancouver, the rain comes and sticks around for about hmm 3-5 months.


Seattle sightseeing

So the remainder of my trip north from Foster City, CA to Seattle was uneventful unless you count major traffic in Tacoma as an event. So I checked in Friday afternoon with a third leasing manager on this property. Luckily she was the best one yet. She was even more careful with my move in damage inspection than I was. After that was all done, I decided we deserved to spend the rest of the weekend doing minimal move in work and, instead, enjoying the beautiful weather. I decided that, even though I'm not all that familiar with Seattle, I'd use my Internet research skills to play tour guide for the weekend. All in all I'd have to say I did a pretty good job.

That night we headed to the pier and discovered that the highly recommended Crab Pot had no wait. I knew it'd be good because I'd heard all about it from friends. We got in, they put bibs on us, rolled out a sheet of paper on the table and brought us mallets. Before long the waiter came with a huge pot of crab, mussels, clams, corn, shrimp and dumped it on the table. And yup we finished the whole thing. It was AWESOME. We spent the rest of the night roaming Bell Town and the shopping area downtown before heading home to crash. Saturday I took Simon around Green Lake, drove through Fremont and Wallingford, and then stopped at the Ballard Locks to watch the salmon jump out of the water and swim upstream. After that we had to head back home to help my roomate's sister move in some of her stuff. The stolen shopping carts in our garage sure made that an easy task. Still, we celebrated that feat with yet another huge pot of seafood, this time at The Fisherman's Restaurant. After having tried both restaurants, I'd have to say the Crab Pot was the clear winner.

Sunday was a lot of fun. We started with drive to Capitol Hill to visit Bruce Lee's grave then headed over to Pioneer Square to go on the $11 90-minute Underground Tour. Most city tours I know are kinda corny and stupid but this one came highly recommended and I have to say it was one of the best city tours I've gone on. It starts out with a comedic, yet thorough, 25 minute history lesson followed by a tour of the buildings still left under Seattle's streets. If you want to know why there's a city below the streets you'll have to take the tour. I don't want to spoil it. After the tour finished, we headed over to Alki Beach (good suggestion Egan) which is pronounced alk-eye, not alkee as I learned on my last visit. It was nice and toasty in the sun so we sat on a park bench and watched folks play football and volleyball in the sand. We even saw one crazy guy jump into the frigid Puget Sound waters for a swim. We dined at Coyote's on Alki that night. They forgot to bring Simon's drink even after one reminder, the food was mediocre, and service was very very slow. They never did bring out Simon's drink. Oh well, whatever.

So Monday was errand day. Picked up a lamp and some stuff from a Craigslist seller, visited the Telenav Seattle office, went to IKEA, had dinner with a friend, and spent the rest of the evening putting together furniture. Since then I've been constructing furniture and shopping for household stuff non-stop. Rest of the week will be spent getting this apartment furnished and orderly so I can start focussing on school.

Alrighty, time to get back to unpacking. Sorry I have no photos to show. My card reader went missing in the process of moving :(


made it

No accidents, no speeding tickets and only one traffic jam in Tacoma. Here safe and sound, thanks for all the comments everyone. Lucky Simon has this handy Sprint thingy majajig to get online without wifi. After unpacking we headed downtown for a well deserved dinner at Crab Pots and a walk through Bell Town. Now I'm exhausted and have to hit the sack, I mean air mattress. Will post more probably on Tuesday.


part way there

After a few drinks and a ride on Bucky the mechanical bull last night (45 seconds yeehaw!) we got home kinda late which means we got up kinda late and didn't get packed and on the road until 12.30 today. Packing the car was the hardest part and I had to leave behind 4 boxes, a chair, a lamp and 3 reams of paper. Oh well. Guess I was being optimistic. We stopped in Fairfield for lunch, some place in northern Cali for gas (holy cow was it ever hot up there), Target in Medford to pick up some small but expensive stuff like power tools, DVD player, and electric toothbrush, all tax free, and one more stop to switch drivers before reaching Eugene at 10pm. We checked in and had no choice but to eat at the Lucky Noodle. Expensive fusion but not bad. So I'm back in the hotel now. Time to hit the sack and get ready for another 4-5 hour drive.



I hate packing. The only thing less fun is unpacking. Anyways, I managed to pack up most of what's mine in preparation for the big road trip tomorrow. The plan is to spend 8 or 9 hours on the road and stop off in Eugene to spend a night. A lot of people do this drive in one solid 12-13 hours (16 to make it all the way to Vancouver) but since we wouldn't arrive when the leasing office is open anyways we decided to split it up into 8 hours first day and 4 hours Friday. My short term concern is making everything fit into my car, after that I'm worried about people breaking into it and stealing all I got. Fingers crossed that this whole move, which has not been without its complications thus far, goes off without a hitch.

Tonight I'll be out for a drink at Old Pro, one of my favorite bars. They are newly renovated and I'm looking forward to trying out Bucky the mechanical bull.


image consultant

So I just finished creating a little web site in an "exchange of services" for a fellow Toastmaster who is also an image consultant. I created the site and in return she has created a style portfolio for me. Yay! I would never otherwise be able to afford the luxury of an image consultant. Now I just need to find her a suitable domain since anything that looks remotely like her company name is taken. Check it out http://www.vanessaau.com/joann/index.html

Too many things to do, no packing getting done here. Dammit.

last few days

Today I returned my library books to SFSU and headed up to Mach III to get my alarm looked at. I still had a receipt from my car's previous owner dated April 1997 which is when the alarm was originally installed. Yah, that's 9 years ago. The guys told me to head down to Faxon Garage where their friends handle the installations. They took my car right away. I went down to Java on Ocean to get a caramel machiatto and make a few calls to confirm my move in date up in Seattle. By the time I got back, my alarm was fixed. I mentioned that the stupid alarm used to lock me out because it locked itself after a few seconds. I also have this tacky scanner thing on my windshield (think KIT from Knight Rider) from the previous owner that looked like it drained my battery. He said he could switch it out for a little LED light and take another look at the auto-locking issue. That took about 40 minutes. Total damage = $0 for fixing my non-working alarm, $30 to rip out the scanner and put in a little LED. That is what I call good business. I didn't expect them to charge me nothing even though they installed it originally. I mean 9 years is an awfully long time. I expected to at least pay for labour but I didn't have to. So yeah, if you need a mechanic, alarm install, rims, stereo system etc, go see these guys.



So my roomate and I were granted a conditional approval of our lease application because she'll be a full time MBA on a student loan, ie no income, and my income will not be 3x our total rent. Leasing manager 1 promised that this problem would be solved simply by paying first and last month's rent up front. However she only works weekends so we've have to deal with leasing manager 2 on the weekdays. #2 has demanded that we find a cosigner for the lease, someone who meets all the requirements of making more than 3x rent. Pain in the ass I tell you. I hate managed properties but we have no choice at this point. So anyways, my conversation with her went like this:

Vanessa: My cosigner is my dad who is in Vancouver BC. Can I have you fax him the form and I'll pay the application fee by check which I'll pop in the mail?

#2: Vancouver BC. That's in Canada right?

Vanessa: Uh yes (I'm thinking at this point, how the hell can you NOT know this if you live 2 hours from the border???)

#2: Is Canada part of the United States? 'Cause we can't verify information unless they're in the United States

Vanessa: [long pause and stifled laughter] Did you just ask.... Um, no [more stifled giggling] Canada is not part of the United States.

#2: Oh yeah (trying to sound smart) I didn't think so. He can't be a co-signer then.

So I've heard stories like this from other people about Americans really uh... not all there when it comes to geography. I had another friend tell a DMV agent that he had driver's license in Ontario, Canada. The agent asked him, "Is Canada in the US?". My friend responded no. The agent didn't believe him so she turned around to ask her manager for verification. The manager didn't even flinch. It was as if that were a pretty typical question to ask over at the DMV. How does one graduate from high school without knowing which large masses of land are part of your country, and which are not? I don't get it. I guess that's why the Talking to Americans segment of This Hour has 22 Minutes is such a huge hit.

Anyways, out of boredom I decided to learn a little bit more about the area I'll be moving to. This is what my search turned up. Perverts breaking into women's homes and climbing into their beds naked before escaping with bags of their underwear. Awesome. I can't wait.