New job

A lucky set of circumstances converged in my life, and in ten days I will start working at a new job. I won't be getting paid much more than I am now, but that's OK because the location (I can ride a bike to work), hours (not too early-bird), décor (modernist), and buzzwords (sustainable, LEED-certified, etc.) are much better. This is what my new office looks like:

Well, sort of -- there are models in beige sitting on the the tables. (link)

In Which I Tediously Recount the Details of My Recent Vacation

I woke up at 5:00 A.M. on Thursday, and after riding in a cab, a jet, several motorized walkways and escalators, a little tram, and a BART train, I checked into my hotel at 4th & Market in San Francisco by 10:30. Snacked on a coconut fruit cake from a Chinatown bakery on Grant while on my way to William Stout Architectural Books. I was a little overwhelmed by their selection, and their store was so crammed that browsing was a little difficult, but I decided on a few items to purchase, including a monograph on Koolhaas/OMA's amazing Seattle Public Library. Since I was in the neighborhood, I checked out City Lights bookstore, which is a historically interesting landmark if you're interested in the beat movement (I was really into Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg during my late adolescent phase), but otherwise just a pretty good bookstore. Hey, I live a few miles away from Powell's, probably the best bookstore in the English-speaking world, so it's kind of hard to impress me.
Outside the store, a horrifying brochure documenting the abuses of the Chinese government against the Falun Gong movement blew in the wind and landed on my feet, so I felt compelled to read it while waiting for Roy to pick me up in his VW Beetle. Months earlier we had e-flirted and talked on the phone while he was working in Portland, but never met until now. We ate burritos at a taquería on 19th & Mission while entertained by busking musicians. Roy had a meeting and a houseguest to attend to so he dropped me off in the Castro, where I picked up a copy of the latest issue of BUTT (NSFW), and noticed that many of the men in the neighborhood attempt to look like porn stars, to varying degrees of success. It's a strange little parallel universe -- with a barber shop, a Walgreen's, a natural food store, a Korean-staffed manicure joint -- but everyone is gay (except for the straight tourist couples nervously clutching each others' hands). I did some window shopping, failed to find the historical plaque marking the location of Harvey Milk's camera store, hopped on the Muni train back to my hotel, and took a nap.
Later that evening, back to the Mission to check out Truck, a low-key little gay bar on Folsom with a good DJ, cheeky blue-collar inspired decor, and a tasty sausage sandwich. After walking under overpasses and stepping over sidewalk squatters, I arrived at my next stop, the Eagle, where a band of young men born in the 80s were playing a loud pastiche of rock styles from the late 60s (I suppose it's a good thing that kids these days still appreciate Blue Cheer, MC5, and Black Sabbath). Although I wanted to move on to my next stop (Tubesteak Connection at a hole-in-the-wall Tenderloin tranny bar called Aunt Charlie's) it was still a little early for that, so I killed some time sipping on another bourbon & soda while text-messaging my friends. And then a tall handsome bearish dude walked in solo and caught my eye. I'm normally too shy to cruise at bars, but we struck up a conversation about music that was soon drowned out by the next band of retro rockers. So instead of shouting in each others' ears, we got frisky in the middle of the audience full of straight kids who came to watch the bands, not the floor show. I'm sure some of them were thinking, "get a room!" We went back to my room. I'll have to check out Aunt Charlie's next time I'm in town.
Next morning, killing time shopping at Marshall's while waiting for my parents to come pick me up, I traded flirty smiles with another tall handsome bearish dude. Cruising in San Francisco is too easy. No time to follow through though -- it was time to head down to Monterey for my aunt and uncle's anniversary party/family reunion. It was my first time in Monterey, which is a nice and posh little tourist town. We had a fancy banquet dinner at a trés bourgeois hotel, where I was somewhat underdressed.
Family was nice, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium was more memorable. Jellyfish are beautiful; sunfish are bizarre. Cannery Row was saturated with otter-related kitsch, which made me chuckle but I wasn't about to explain to my mom why. Speaking of otters, take a look at the cutest YouTube animals ever.
The rest of my trip was pretty boring. Let me just say I'm glad I don't live in the Salinas Valley.