Archive for February, 2005

apple ju-ju

Too much fun! Lunch with the newlyweds at Bouchon on Saturday; white bean soup with tapenade, a boudin blanc with prunes and wonderful potato puree, a chocolate mousse. Claire behaved disgracefully, but looked very cute in her yellow and purple kimono. Afterwards we wandered through an Argyle Centerish shopping mall filled with cynical tourist art. I was the last one out; the others were waiting for me, tweeting:

“Twee! Twee! Twee!”

Saturday night a vast cold descended over me, so that I could hardly even concentrate on Porco Rosso, except to note that it’s now among my top ten films of all time. Sunday I dragged myself out of my sick bed to go to Ada’s birthday party. I should explain that Claire uses “apple-juice” for a large set of vaguely homonymous polysyllabic words: octopus, obelisk &c. So:

“Can you say ‘Happy birthday Ada’?”

“Apple ju-ju Ada!”

The party was wicked fun, as far as I could tell from my bleary-eyed perch in the corner.

“Ada’s TWO YEARS OLD,” said Danny in amazement. “Do you know what that is in dog years?”

“Do you know what it is in human years?” asked Quinn.

“Do you know what it is in PARENT years?” asked Jeremy.

Last night we ventured out onto rainy Mission to try Fortune Cookie, the new local Chinese. Outstanding potstickers, delicious duck salad and a Futurama-worthy orange peel chicken, according to Jeremy:

“Popplers with a light dressing of Slurm.”

Claire greatly enjoyed the live crabs:


We pinched each other with pincers. On further exploration, she found a small shrine with two candles. She sang to it:

“Apple birdy ju-ju, apple birdy ju-ju.”

I like to interview her at the end of the day, to find out how things went.

“Did you have a nice time at Ada’s party?”


“Did you see Quinn?”


“Did you see Danny?”


“Did you see Gilbert?”


fifth anniversary

Still haven’t finished the wedding album or eaten the cake or preserved the dress.

Still think the sun shines out of him.

I took Claire to her first swim class at the JCCSF today. What a place! Hot tub and locker rooms bigger and brighter than Kabuki! Lovely friendly swim teacher John! Claire squealing with delight and having to be peeled out of the pool after an hour, blue and shivering! I want to be Jewish! Where do I sign?

where are my colonies?

I’ve acquired some adorable new catchphrases, which I must now inflict on the world at large, because Jeremy has stopped laughing at them.

From the Daily Show’s Stephen Colbert, on being Old European: “Look at my tiny car! Where are my colonies?”

When anyone displeases me for any reason whatsoever: “Why do you hate America?”

You’ll notice these catchphrases are contradictory, not to say mutually exclusive. Kindly bear in mind that I don’t care.

maybe it meant something

If it weren’t for Hunter Thompson I wouldn’t have started IMing with someone calling himself Raoulduke on the network under the arches at Trinity College, Dublin. I wouldn’t have moved into that godawful apartment in Westland Row, and I wouldn’t have picked up my first copy of Wired Magazine during the Ireland-Norway game of the 1994 World Cup.

If I hadn’t read Wired I wouldn’t have taken the job at Computer Week when I got back to Sydney, so I wouldn’t have reconnected with Big Daddy G, then in his PR phase. And if I hadn’t made friends with him again, I wouldn’t have interviewed Jeremy for the Guava story or met Pesce in an Oxford Street bar.

If I hadn’t met Pesce, Jeremy and I wouldn’t have moved to San Francisco together. Raoulduke wouldn’t have introduced us to bos in Universal Cafe. We wouldn’t have gone to Burning Man and met the Santa Cruzers. We wouldn’t have gone to Orinda to meet Salome and Noah. We wouldn’t have held the chuppah at bos’ wedding to Mamafu. We wouldn’t have bought Eugenia Avenue or had Claire.

“Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a main era – -the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle – -that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting – on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

balls! (for quinn)

Carole: So I have a present for you guys!

R: Is it a pony?

C: No.

R (still hopeful): Is it like a pony?

J: Where would we keep a pony?

R: Maybe on the roof? There’s enough grass growing from the gutters…

C: It’s not a pony. It’s one of those giant ergonomic balls!

J: Oh excellent!

C: But I forgot to bring it with me, it’s at home.

J: Better still! Think of all the space we’re saving!


I’ve been not-blogging because somehow I seem to have come down with A Life. Consider this: Friday Quinn and I took Claire and Ada to Zeum. Friday night Roberta and I took the Murgisteads to Green’s for a Milo-bration. Sexy Justine was there, and Heather six months up the duff, and Lesley back from saving Africa and wearing the coolest possible glasses, and Kat with left hand weighed down by a flawless diamond Ring.

Saturday night we had a family BBQ with the Moores and the O’Sullibrechts. Sunday, brunch in Berkeley; Sunday night, Barefoot Boogie, Claire went nuts. Monday night the O’Nortojongs came over for toddler mosh and zucchini risotto. Last night Jack, Salome, Justine and David dropped by for stir fry and ice cream. Tonight, Bernal Heights Preservation with Shannon. This weekend, birthday parties up the wazoo.

Who are all these people, and what happened to me being a grouchy recluse?

yeah, well nyerny

THE SCENE: In the courtyard of ATLAS CAFE, a Nemiz coffee house and haunt of hipsters, JEREMY, a boy genius turned grizzled Unix geek, breakfasts with QUINN, user mythologist, and RACHEL, wife. Around their feet seethe TODDLERS.

Q: On the flight back from London I was eavesdropping on these two hugely fat American tourists. One was convinced that she was going to die from deep vein thrombosis, and the other hated Europe because she’d had to walk everywhere.

J: Ah; so they had deep thought thrombosis.

Gales of laughter, applause, dancing toddlers, confetti.

R: It’s getting on, honey, shall I drop you at the Caltrop station?

Tumbleweeds, distant flute.

R: Medieval, used for laming horses?

J: Oh, right.

Q: Yeah, that’s quite funny.

a, a, armani

Grant and Kirsty, this anecdote is precision-engineered for your delight.

So two-year-olds all make up their own word, right? Kelly’s was Boccadice, and Cian’s was Pittica Tickabwee.

Claire’s, though, is Armani.

google google no

Surprise biz trip to Boston. Hello Boston! You’d think that putting 3000 miles between self and sleepless blicket would mean I would NOT wake at 4am just to make sure she’s all right, but no. Odd night trying to reset internal clock to EST. I kept waking up in other hotel rooms: Avanos, London, Portland. I’ve been travelling too much lately. My soul is getting stretched. You can see it in my colleagues, who biz-travel way more than I do. Their souls are just thin slicks, like oil on the Atlantic.

I miss Jeremy, duh, although SMS, my new favourite protocol (is it a protocol? Google google no, looks like a service that runs over the SMPP (short message peer to peer) protocol), keeps us busy bewildering each other with cryptic abbreviations. Last night, for example, he texted “Bluth/Troy?”, which you’d probably need to be me or someone very like me to interpret as a proposal for an Arrested Development/Nip/Tuck crossover, possibly involving a steamy love affair between Michael and Sean. This morning he notified me that he and Claire had “struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering”, which lets you know that Mystery Men was on yet again, as well as just how much TiVo we watch. Oh well, if anything ever happens to J, we can inter him in a bowling ball for Claire.

Biz trips are very clinical these days. Coming across the country was like catching the bus, especially because I used the electronic check-in at the airport and the hotel. Longest conversation I had yesterday was with room service.

“You like it that way,” said Jeremy.

“I really, really do,” I said.

It’s working out as a writer’s retreat; I got five chapters of Breeding done on the plane. My own private Yaddo.

There’s dirty snow piled up everywhere, beside the roads, in the courtyards. My hotel is connected to several office and apartment buildings by huge glass shopping malls. Very Minnesota or Toronto. I haven’t needed to go outside at all, which is good because I left my wool coat on the banister at home. Once a year I get a chance to wear a wool coat non-ironically, and I blow it. Good thing I don’t smoke. There are little cadres huddled outside each airlock, like sad smoky polar explorers.

to remind me why we keep her

…even though she keeps waking at 4am with an exhaustive list of complaints.

spoke too soon

Roar, roar, roar, roar. Whine, whine. Twist, writhe, head-butt mother square on the larynx.

One small white girl, for sale, cheap.