Well, in a rollicking fun day Tuesday, I got turned down by VA, and I get to either keep the digital camera I don't really want, or sell it for as little loss as I can manage (there's a small scratch in the nonviewable part of the LCD, so Fry's, being the bastards they are, refused to take it back).


Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam shehekheyanu, v'kiyimanu, v'higiyanu laz'man hazeth.

I managed to sell the camera on Thursday night, losing a pretty minimal amount of money. I took BART from downtown Oakland into SF to make the exchange, and walking around in San Francisco reminded me of what is good about the place: it is "hip" in a positive sense, with a busyness that we here in the East Bay lack. It beckons to you to come there, to live within the bustle and activity and more or less ready availability of...stuff. Not that finding food at 0300 isn't still a challenge in SF, but it's easier than trying to do it over here. In either place it's a choice of diners, but at least SF gets to choose from two besides Denny's.

(For the record, the Denny's in El Cerrito, while not exactly close to here [about 20 minutes], is in fact an excellent eating establishment, clean, well-lit, with good food and service.)

(The much closer Denny's in Emeryville [perhaps 7 minutes away], by contrast, has dirty windows and a hired security guard to seat people.)

San Francisco has a lot to offer, and as I went on my errand through Oakland's more flamboyant sibling across the Bay, through the hordes of twentysomethings in the 16th/Mission area, my quiet Oakland neighborhood seemed so...pedestrian by comparison. Here I was in San Francisco, surrounded by the blur of row houses and thrift stores and pawn shops and restaurants of all prices and descriptions, and I would leave it all to go to a region of houses and families and long-term renters, so peaceful and ordinary...

22:37 <dr.jd> whenever I miss SF, I go and try to park there...

Well, I love the East Bay for a lot of reasons. When I first came to California in the summer of 1999, I actually lived in Palo Alto, working an internship at NTT MCL, with no car, riding my bicycle (I had to buy a bicycle, which wasn't a lot of fun when I had to walk to the bike shop) and taking Caltrain anywhere I wanted to go. I spent practically every weekend in San Francisco, hanging out at Jan's, since he and all the other people I knew in California were in the city. My first weekend, I ended up biking across SF twice, which is a lot, and I can hardly recommend doing it once. I got what I consider to be a fair taste of the city in its good and bad aspects, and as I decided to come to California for a long haul, I knew that I really didn't like the Peninsula, and the logistics involved in living in San Francisco would leave me too worn to enjoy the fact that I lived there.

Beyond that, I like the feel of the East Bay. I've never been one for flamboyance: I'm very definitely odd, but I carry my oddness inside, sugar-coated with blue jeans and sneakers and flannel and button-down shirts. Not that I'm trying to hide, as any illusions go away once I start talking, but conspicuous clothing generally just isn't who I am. So I opt for the more laid-back pace (and easier parking and lower rent and other practicalities) of the East Bay.

It's been a long, rough week, to be perfectly honest, and I say that without any intention of garnering sympathy or even really wallowing in self-pity. It's been an eventful year, and I personally think I've managed the vast majority of it with grace and dignity, so if every few months I feel the stoicism and calm creak under the strain, I try to let it all out. One can only manage uncertainty and instability for so long before it starts to take a toll.

As I always remember from my childhood, the book It Could Be Worse or something similar...I have Mona, who makes so many things worthwhile, and I have income, which is a huge improvement over last year, even if the job is very, very far from home and...not what I want, in a variety of ways. I do make more money than I did as an intern, although not very much. But this is what is--I think some percentage of life is about tradeoffs of one kind or another.

Possibly all of it. I'll get back to you.