Monday, February 27, 2006

It's a small world after all

Many lines of thinking that need to be woven together to come close to being coherent. Or I could go more Tarantino-esque and just introduce the themes and wait for it all to come into focus.

Thursday - Berkeley Institute for Law and Technology Job Fair
First of all, so weird to be on the other side of the hiring table! I introduced myself to an attorney at another table and received quite the cold shoulder, so I was loathe to try it again with someone I actually wanted to meet: an attorney who is involved with one of the South Asian groups in the Bay Area (IWL.) Thankfully, she came by our table to trade swag. As we were exchanging contact information, she said, "What are you doing Saturday? My friends are having a party." I said, "Um, do you know Vinod?" Yup, same party. I told Tom (the attorney who came with me) that "we don't all know each other - it just looks like that right now.

Friday - Mr. Smith's in the city
Accompanied Roop to her cousin's friend's bday (?) ... where I ran into ... Vinod. Also saw P. Escobar, the Marxist and the Cowboy. Had an opportunity to lipsynch some Bell Biv Devoe (now you know) as well as my rendition of the Axl dance. Good times, good times.

Hung out with the other epicenter of brown-dom, SJM, and his parents. Going for hard-core tourist, SJM et al, P. Escobar, Roop and I hit the Ghiradelli Square. Shoe shopping, pedicure, and the Thai in short order - and then it was time for Vinod's party. The party was INSANE! I felt the weekend catching up with me, and with a last look I hit the highway.
I leave you with this excerpt from a convo with ads:
ads: if you hang out with vinod and salil long enough, then I guess it will happen eventually.
ads: you will become the center of the desi universe

maisnon: By your powers combined, I am.... DESI PLANET
maisnon: Okay, only funny if you have watched Captain Planet"

Saturday, February 25, 2006


From: brimful
To: maisnon
Subject: quick bitch?

Is it wrong that my first thought was, "Well, yes, I guess I am."

Friday, February 24, 2006


So. I'm going to be taking French classes. When I told brimful her response was that my blog would become dedicated to all things frenchie. She's probably right, and I figured my 3 readers deserved notice.

I went to l'Alliance Francaise's open house a few weeks ago to take a tour, sit in on a demo class, and take a placement test. I sweated hard over the placement test. And then I had to meet the director of pedogogie (see? It's starting already!) for an interview in French. With four beginner and four intermediate levels (and keeping in mind that it has been nearly 15 years since I've been in a French class), I was hoping to fall somewhere within the intermediate range. Apparently, the director felt I was clearly advanced. My honest first reaction was "Jigga-wha?" Then, I tried to remember how to say "seriously" in French. And failed.

Clearly, the days where I used to dream in French are long gone. The class I'm taking is described as Actualités/Conversation/Grammaire: Sur les sujets d’actualité de la semaine, révisez avec sérieux et pratiquez avec plaisir.

Dude. I don't even understand all the words in the description. (Okay, I'm exaggerating, but only un peu.) I'm starting classes in a week and I'm terrified. The Alliance has a French-style bistro, complete with surly French chef, attached to it and I have promised myself a kick-ass glass of wine after my first class. I'll be in SF every Saturday afternoon (the better to make dinner plans all over the city, my dear. Hint. Hint.)

There, you've been warned: be prepared for random French lessons, and cultural notes.

P.S. - Jigga-wha also accurately describes my response when the kickboxing instructor ended class by saying, "I'm not sure who's interested in this: but they just made cagefighting legal in California!!" Uh, you couldn't drop that knowledge on me at the beginning of class so I'da known you were kra-azy and bounced?

55 Fiction Friday: This wrinkle in time edition

Friday needs an Advil.

It started as a dull throb behind her left eye, and slowly advanced to a band of metal surrounded her head, tightening inexorably. She was acutely aware of her pulse, a pinprick of pain keeping its own beat. The light became unbearable – she shied away from it like a nocturnal animal, or a red-handed burglar.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

the house that jack built

Paticus is moving. She and her husband had been desultorily looking at houses for a couple of weeks. I picked up the phone last week to hear that they got the house! (Even more surprising since I wasn't in the know about the offer, etc.)

I spent most of my long weekend helping her pack. And pack we did - a 3 bedroom house in 2 days! I don't even think she needed the physical help as much as a little handhold in the outside world. Someone outside the immediate fray to say loudly and often that it will all be okay. When you're in the belly of the beast, consumed with the seeming realities of moving objects from here to there and the inevitable ceaseless number crunching, it is all so disorienting.

This was a bit of a flashback for me. Literally six months ago, I was the one wondering how to pull off all of the details and cursing the words "cash flow." (You'll have it...eventually, but not now when you need it most.) I remember wondering when I'd sell my house (and trying valiantly not to let thoughts of "if" enter my head.) Listening to her and her husband, I can hear the voices thinned by anxiety and fatigue, and I can feel my stomach pulling itself into a sympathetic knot under my sternum.

As always, I'm thinking about change and serendipity: how things long hoped for fall into our laps when we've turned our heads, how the road suddenly twists and we head off in directions we never expected, how even a change planned for at length can feel so unnatural. I think we all have "buyer's remorse" with most changes: even if it's what we wanted and hoped for, we always wonder if it's the right thing for us, if something else might be out there, and if we might not really just be happier just where we are right now, thank you.

There have been some lovely moments: finding the photos I took from the first time I met her (now) husband, mementos from college (we lived across the street from each other - she lived on Barrie, and I lived on Queen), and a long head-clearing walk. (Paticus claims that her life changed the very moment I taught her to wear her jeans on her hips and not her waist. I don't entirely disagree.) Throughout it all, I'm glad that I can be there for her and her husband, and that I am close enough to them to help them usher in their new era.

The bus station in my head

When Roop called me Friday night from the city, I told her not to be jealous of my adventures in Target. She told me she'd read some article about how Target was the hot new place to meet people. Um, I was cruising the aisles, but not cruising the aisles - if you know what I'm saying.

Saturday, it was time to be "down with the brown." I met up with ads, brimful, and oodles (plus assorted nonblogging friends) at Pakwan. (A, B, O - blood types! This is the kind of random thought I have pretty much every waking moment.) Then, off to the Masonic Center for Dhol di Awaz 8! Poor, poor nonblogging friend who sat next to me. I was all the time pestering her with the questions. "What are they saying? What's up with the rats on sticks???" Actually, we never did answer that one. So far, 5 Punjabis have been consulted - if you know, please drop me a comment.

The show was fantastic, but I also enjoyed flipping through the program. Dude, guys - what are you thinking when you name yourself "Knightz" or anything with the word "lethal"? One crew had filim style pics of the members. Nonblogging friend and I zeroed in on a pic of a guy who spends more time on his eyebrows than I do. As NBF said, "That's the look I go for when I get my brows done - I tell them, 'Make me look bitchy!'" Priceless. When he was on stage, I yelled, "Go [name of Brows]! Go [name of Brows]!" Then, I realized his mom was probably sitting behind me and I shut the hell up.

Then, it was off to Lingba to meet SJM and a visiting friend. Note to self: if a drink is called a bowl of monkeys, it's not for you. Don't be fooled by the comically long straws!!

ignominious - finding out that the actual meaning of "double battery, single power" is someone who wears glasses, i.e. that you, in fact, are double battery single power.

Lingba is where I realized that dancing for me is what alcohol is to other people - it lowers my inhibitions to the point where the next day I end up saying to myself, "WHAT were you thinking?" Somewhat against its will, I turned Lingba into a dance party. As the vaguely creepy guy at the bar told me, I did a "fucking good job of hopping around."

The rest of the long weekend is another post.

I have promised Chai and other people taking the Bar today that I will channel brain waves in their direction. So, don't expect much in the way of posting and/or wittiness for the next 2-3 days.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

31 Flavors

My father taught me how to write. He would have me write a paragraph, or a page and then tell me to reduce it by a certain number of words. He did this when he was a schoolboy in Malaysia. The idea is that you choose your words carefully and eke out as much meaning as you can out of each word.

A sculptor once described his method as "I take away everything that is not the statue." The key is to recognize when you have truly whittled something down to its essence.

The picture is from my birthday party (photo credit to P. Escobar.) First, I cropped out a friend's coworker (she didn't sign up for notoriety.) After careful consideration, I cropped myself out of the pic. This pic says everything you need to know about my birthday party.

THAT'S RIGHT! I'm finally writing the birthday post!

The scene: Levende Lounge. I am big on the lounge thing, I like the idea of a comfortable space with furniture designed for kicking back and staying awhile. The one thing I hate is that some lounges are about "beautiful people" pointedly not talking to each other (*cough* 18th Street Lounge *cough*.) I'd been to Levende before with la brim and liked the vibe. (And this is despite brimful getting a fist to the eye, and some weird girl putting her head on my shoulder to whine about not getting the bartender's attention.)

The crowd: A veritable who's who: ads, brimful, Roop, P. Escobar, SJM, oodles. Oh yeah - and people I know from outside of the blogination. (Inconceivable, I know!) Unfortunately, we didn't have the place to ourselves. There were about 5 times as many people as the first time I hung out there. Oddly, there were FOUR other birthday parties going on that night. I ran into a coworker who was also having a bday party. Think about how weird that is: I work 40 minutes south of the city, there are a million bars in SF and I ran into a coworker also celebrating her birthday.

The highlights:

    Levende makes a very yummy drink out of cherries that they marinate themselves! (I kept telling e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. about the marinated cherries.) I believe this drink is called an Effen Cherry Bomb. I believe one shouldn't have more than ... three.

    A friend of a friend was talking to me about law school, and how mutual friend was trying to convince him to go. I was listing the positive things about it, when he interrupted me to say, "Yes, but the biggest obstacle to me going to law school is that I'm a Marxist." Then, the Marxist proceeded to buy a bottle of Dom for the table. It was a little surreal, but I chalked it up to the Effen Cherry Bomb.

    Somehow, I took it into my head that what we needed to hear was Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. I may have dared my peeps to go make a request. ads took me up on it, but to no avail. That's okay, in many ways, it was the trying that mattered.

    A friend near the bar was looking for me on the dance floor, and a German helpfully volunteered, "Look for the arms in the air." For someone who doesn't know me at all, that was strangely accurate.

And...scene: I believe a good time was had by all, although the crowd did awaken my misanthropic side. And I was hangover-free the next morning (31 years and counting!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

my funny valentine

The Best Friend ("TBF") is very happily married, sometimes disgustingly so. (She and the hubby actually try to gross/freak me out with PDA - which isn’t hard to do - but, I’ve long since grown immune to their antics.) Recently, she told me that her favorite Valentine's Days were the ones that she spent with her girlfriends. After my most recent V Day, I can absolutely see why.

I’m not sure when it became the popular thing to slag on Valentine’s Day. I can see why, of course, it’s a “Hallmark holiday”, it’s part of our society’s obsession with coupling off, it heightens gender stereotyping and smacks of consumerism (“Let me show you I care by … spending money on you”), etc. etc. Don’t worry, I get it. But I think that you can abstract away from that and make it what you want.

I’m cheesy, so I enjoy holidays. In this very space the idea of a girls’ night at Medjool was discussed. Channeling my inner Julie, social activities cruise director, I organized a little soiree.

roop and I drove up from the Peninsula to meet brimful, ads, and oodles at the restaurant. I’ll admit: the restaurant was nowhere near as good as the last time I went. The food was kinda medium, the service was sub-par, they added a gratuity for a party of 5, etc. But I didn’t care, the company and the conversation more than made up for it. If you’re looking for an amateur auctioneer, oodles is your girl – she can talk a mile a minute, especially when trying to avoid a question. My dinner companions were kind enough to indulge my food photography obsession (pic to come soon.) We had a long conversation on the vagaries of Indian nomenclature. (A guy named Lovely? That shit ain’t right!)

How sweet is this? roop brought us truffles and oodles brought us cookies! The sweet!! (Literally!) It’s not a word I use very often, but I have been blessed to meet such amazing, intelligent women. I can’t imagine a more perfect Valentine’s Day.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I've been trying to unravel this for a while, so it seems like it belongs here.

In short: I experience acute depression when doing gym classes that involve work on the floor. Pilates, yoga, certain conditioning classes - they all send me into a downward loop. I'm lying on the mat trying to concentrate on my form, or on the instructor's directions, but really I'm slipping away. I'm comparing my life to others' and finding it deficient and I'm slinking slowly towards something that feels dangerously like a panic attack. It was so bad last week during a class, that the instructor came over and spoke to me. She thought I was having difficulties with the exercise, but, really, I was just paralyzed by despondency.

The stupor lasts for 10-15 minutes after I'm off of the floor.

I don't understand it. I can do yoga on the floor of my living room with no problems. I can do crunches at the gym by myself with no sadness. After the depression washes away, I'm always a little confused as to why it happened and why I was so sad about things that are either not that important to me or are completely someone else's idea of success. I feel wrung out like a dishtowel, a little exhausted and careful with myself. I catalogue all that is right in my life, as if to throw the earlier misery into sharper relief.

I get runner's high, so maybe it's only natural that I get Pilates low.

Friday, February 10, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: the chlorinated edition

Friday takes a dip in the pool:

She planted her hands on the side of the pool and pushed – deftly swiveling as she rose out of the water to plant her seat on the concrete. She heard the faint scratching as the concrete snagged the fabric of her swimsuit, reminding her of lifeguards whistling, sno-cones, flip-flips and the summers of her childhood.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

fièvre de fevrier

It's never too late for the weekend update!

I was so, so looking forward to last friday because Ms. Fabulousa herself, Chai, was in town! Using a mash-up of CitySearch, eVite, and OpenTable, we managed to scheme and plot our way into an 8 pm reservation at Lime, accompanied by the divine brimful, ads, and Yasmine. I know, right?

I love SF just as it is, but I can't wait until I have my very own parking space there because I'm sick of leaving myself 1/2 hour to park, finally finding the public parking garage, and ... being turned away! The car in front of me was allowed in, but apparently, no parking for me. I've always been punctual/early, and now I'm always at least 5 minutes late. Anyway, moving on.

Lime was too cool for me. That's not to say I didn't like the space (all mod furniture, and mini-flatscreens embedded in the bar, and apparently....the bathroom?), or that the people weren't friendly (as I was rushing to the table, a diner stopped me to hand me a little red dress pin) - I'm just surprised alarm bells didn't go off as I entered. "WARNING: NOT COOL ENOUGH! WARNING: NOT HIPSTER QUALIFIED!"

Quite the commute for dinner! ads had taken her crystal coach/pumpkin out from Berkeley, Yasmine drove in from Walnut Creek (!!!), Chai was visiting from the D of C, and I had driven up from la Vallée de Silicium. Oh yeah, and brimful wandered over from the Mission - I'm kidding, I'm kidding!

One thing about Lime: it's a little loud. No, actually, it's a lot loud. Imagine eating dinner in a nightclub. (As if I just used the word "nightclub.") It took a while for us to shout our food preferences and restrictions at each other, but we managed to order. I'm a huge fan of tapas - I love being able to try different foods, and I like the intimacy of sharing food with people I enjoy. The food at Lime was good! My expectations may have been lowered somewhat by the "nightclub" atmosphere, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised. From a Turkish coffee cup of tomato soup with little grilled white cheese sandwiches, to zucchini frites - the food was the yum.

Funniest convo of the night:

maisnon [observing two guys speaking in sign language at the bar] Guys, is it weird that I kinda think sign language is hot?
brimful: YES!
ads: ... maybe it's like an accent?

Chai came up with a well-reasoned explanation as to why I think it's hot, but maybe brimful is right on this one.

We bid adieu to Yasmine, and headed to the Bagdad Cafe for some sweetness. Mmmm...coconut cake and conversation. The group lost another member (brimful), and the remaining three headed to SJM's for a pah-tee.

The party was a swarm of people and I felt myself teetering on the edge of social phobia (i.e. my penchant for grabbing a drink and finding a quiet place to just observe. Not that this is a bad thing.) Out of nowhere, someone I haven't seen since October came up and gave me a huge hug. Another hug from SJM himself, a quick chat with Roops, and then I was headed across the room to greet P. Escobar. He saw me coming and was making hug-shaped arms while he continued chatting with someone.

This series of events really, really touched me. It was my Norm from Cheers moment. I felt, and feel, really at home in the SF area. I have met so many interesting, sympatico people and they have welcomed me into their lives. I drove home listening to Chet Baker's "Moon Love" and agreeing completely.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Mmmm.....wordcloudlicious. If you were going to simmer your blog down to a delectable "word reduction", what would it look like? Check it out at SnapShirts (H/t to Love&Haterade, a blog I have started mad sweatin' recently.)

I love this. The words make me ... happy. But it also makes me want to write stories of one-armed pirates with halitosis. I'm just sayin'!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The best a man can get

Did you see the Gillette 5 blade razor commercial? What did it make you think of? Perhaps, the old Onion story F&ck Everything, We're Doin' 5 blades?

My response was, "Dude, that's totally like Moore's Law.1"

That's what you get when your Friday is a crash course in integrated circuit design. Hot damn, I love my job!!2

1 Moore's Law - the idea that at our rate of technological development, the complexity of an integrated circuit doubles every 18 - 24 months.

2 I realize that this sounds sarcastic (which would be so unlike me) - but I'm actually dead serious. My job allows me to - no, more than that, encourages me to geek out. Score!


After misspelling it 8 times in a memo, it's safe to say that I can't even spell the word compatibility.

This explains so much.

Friday, February 03, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Gymrat edition

Friday breaks a sweat.

"Don't call it a comeback – I been here for years!" LLCoolJ rapped in her ear as her left heel hit the deck of the treadmill. Rolling through the ball of her foot, pushing off the toe, she felt her pulse in her temples and could hear her own ragged breathing - a meditation in stationary motion.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Growing up, my mother could never keep a watch. Inevitably, they'd stop, and no amount of service or new batteries could convince them to continue scrolling through the minutes and hours. It became a family joke that my mother is magnetic.

Now, after rendering two iPods inoperable within 48 hours, I think that this may be a trait that she passed on to me. This idea is supported my ghastly track record with laptops. I remind you of the Great Laptop Fire of 2004 (one week before my law review student note was due, and -coincidentally - on my birthday), as well as the class-action laptop, and let's not forget the "I was purchased special for the Bar exam, but I think I'll break within the first month anyway" Dell.

I kind of like it - the idea that some aspect of my personality is bewitching to the orderly 1s and 0s. That maybe somewhere between source and object code, the poor things just plain get flummoxed by my proximity. I guess I can stop traffic, in my own way.