Saturday, November 20, 2004

Hunter, gatherer, skinflint

Last night
, i was hugging an almost new microwave home on the N line streetcar, then a second trip with some Ikea rugs and small folding tables and frames.

Heh, 5 bux for all that schwag. :)

This is the way to do it.

Granted, this is the HARD way to do things.

My mom was the queen of leftovers and frugal living. Ma knows how to make a dollar stretch.

I had no idea what 'frugal' meant. I used to think that meant get the best deal and not spend money if you can avoid it.

Heh, I was such an amateur.

For ma, it was years of supporting 5 kids, her mother and assorted relatives on a secretary's salary. She didnt take any shortcuts.

To this day, me and lilbro marvel as how she would come home on her shopping day carrying bags fulla stuff, heavier than her almost. ;)

I worked with a guy back in the 80's who supported his wife and kid and a cadillac on 7 bucks an hour as a hospital orderly.
To this day, I can only imagine how he could do it.

Now, i have an inkling. An inkling.

I was never really a spendthrift by nature. Im a virgo, after all, and I insisted on getting good value for my money.

Now, i realize, my thinking was screwy.

I thought all I had to do was make a lot of money, spend as little of it as possible, save some - and things would be good.
I oculd live my life any way i wanted.

Found out it isnt that wasy.

I read The Millionaire Next Door and Rich Dad, Poor Dad and other financial attitude adjustment books.. took the advice within to heart.

Found out it isnt that easy.

A process, a system, a philosphy.

Found out it isnt that easy.

It in fact, requires discipline, patience, a recognition of what's really important..

But most of all ..


And then that's when it starts.
Lets see, what else...toaster oven.. rice cooker...

JPennant: Hey mr b, you have a rice cooker?
misterB: yes, but of course i got one
JPennant: hehe
JPennant: im gonna look at one tomorrow..
misterB: is it a sealed one, or just a loose lid?
JPennant: umm, i think a loose lid
JPennant: itrs too cheap to be a sealed one
misterB: yeah, i had one of those.. the one with a locking lid works so much better
JPennant: ok
misterB: yeah, you just have to watch it closer so it doesn't burn
JPennant: really
misterB: yeah, definitely better rice cookers
misterB: since the lids not sealed, it can dry out and burn
misterB: the sealed lid kind can sit for hours on warm
JPennant: oh yeah?
misterB: but the other kind will dry up if you let it
JPennant: ahhh

misterB: oh, back to the rice cooker... if you like to eat brown rice, the sealed one does a great job on brown.. makes it much softer than any other way
JPennant: oh cool!
JPennant: but i still gotta soak it before hand?
misterB: i dont, and it still comes out great... just add a bit more water
misterB: it's almost like a pressure cooker, so it softens up those tougher husks
JPennant: can i add like my own ingredients to the mix too right?
JPennant: like i love butter, garlic rice
misterB: sure. you'll probably just have to make adjustments on the liquid
JPennant: ok
JPennant: can i cook other things in the rice cooker?
JPennant: steam vegetables and such?
misterB: hmm, possibly. might be a bit tougher with the "less expensive" models though
JPennant: i guess I can have more than one rice cooker :-)

JPennant: Im gonna prowl the thrift stores and see if i find any
JPennant: i dont wanna spend over 10 or 15
JPennant: i figure I'll get what I want if im patient and determined :-)
JPennant: its not just about the money
misterB: nod

Friday, November 19, 2004


I hate it
when I gotta trek for more than a block for decaf.

It's not that there isnt coffee within a block. But you will get gouged for shit on a just because, and Im not having that.

There is this place that will charge a buck 25 FOR A SMALL COFFEE. Christ. And worse, the decaf sucks.

(Their trick is to call the small cup 'medium'. Hey, if starbux can get away with that crapp,so can everybody else apparently.)

Ive had bad coffee, but you have not lived until you have had bad decaf. So, bad - that some if this swill IS NOT EVEN COFFEE. Its some sort of ground nut and plant husks whose primary purpose is to turn brown upon the application of hot water and taste vaguely nutty.

Not. havin'. it.

So, i will trek long distances for good decaf.

Now, i gotta walk all the way to 16th street and mission.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Haze is fog, fog is haze and ne'er the weatherman will predict either in the weather report.

On my firefox
status bar, i have the plugin. Shows me the weather for the next few days.

Lets just say its not always accurate.

I think its partly because the meterologists at dont actually live in the bay area. So they look at their weather computers do their calculations and ... get it wrong sorta.

In New York, you really cant trust most of the weather people, because most of them are in new York because its the biggest media market. They get their shytte from Accuweather and put on a show for their audition tapes.

In Chicago, the weathermen have been there for YEARS, with tenures measuring in decades. In chicago, because weather can be life or death - you cant mess around. Those guys are GOOD.

I could watch Tom Skilling on WGN and know the weather ANYWHERE on the north american continent.

Here? Even the most experienced weather people will give an educated guess, beeecause the weather here is ... fragmented. They know theyre likely to be wrong. The rule of thumb is that they tend to be a day too early on their predictions.

So, although fog is a constant in san Francisco, you could have desert heat in one part, cold in the hinterlands and blizzards in the mountains. All at the same time.

The national weather services are usually right, for the general area, but dead wrong for local weather.

So, for today, predicted sunshine in san Francisco.

Heh. It was sunny aright, if the sun could get through the blanket of fog. And the blast of freezing winds in half of the city.

So, as of now, they are predicting partly cloudy tomorrow.

Safe choice. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Starry-eyed mule in the china shop


Make the effort to do what partners and colleagues want you to do today, even though your heart may not be in it. By this time next week, you will need their assistance in things that are important to you, so be smart and get in their good graces now.

JPennant: yo
McClint: hey
JPennant: my horrorscope again was on target. scary.
JPennant: so, i walked outta the house this morning expecting today to be a simple day, turned into a long day
McClint: for what?
JPennant: eh, hadda keep my stubborness under control. Dont like doing what i dont want to do.
McClint: dont be obstinate
JPennant: i am stubborn
JPennant: takes effort for me to go with other peoples flow, even if it benefits me
McClint: that's being obstinate
JPennant: well yeah, but I can be flexible ... just stubborn about it :-)
McClint: hehehe


JPennant: nah, youre in the home stretch
JPennant: dont be stubborn ;-)
JPennant: cuz, as we know, youre nearly as stubborn as i am :-)
McClint: shiiiiiiiiiiit
JPennant: heehee

Dont let me have to tell the world about the exploding headset, Mr Clint. :)


Today's horrorscope

This is probably not the best of times to make decisions you may not be able to back out of later, so consider all the options and all the possibilities before deciding what you are going to do next. Better still, don't decide anything at all. Others may be annoyed that you are dragging your feet, but what can they do about it?

JPennant: im being noodged into taking a job I dont necessarily want
Glinessa: so then don't take it
JPennant: its an option
Glinessa: what type of job is it?
JPennant: job I did in college
JPennant: **** ****
Glinessa: beneath you
JPennant: eh, its good money
Glinessa: you'll be bored and will not do it
JPennant: im bored anyway
Glinessa: ok...then ask yourself this
JPennant: k
Glinessa: will taking this job put you in a better position, overall, than you are now?
JPennant: only if Im disciplined about it
Glinessa: will you be? is taking the job going to open up new doors for you to do what you really want to do?
JPennant: gonna talk to some people about my options
Glinessa: i hear ya

JPennant: im very good at saying no
Glinessa: i know ;-)
JPennant: heh

Glinessa: but remember, life gives you many distractions from the goals we wish to have to look at each thing that comes up as a distraction or something that will get you closer to achieving those goals
JPennant: I wont know if its truly a distraction until I try it
Glinessa: then do it
JPennant: lets see what happens. gonna explore my options tho, do some reasearch
Glinessa: good plan

JPennant: I dont want to be fucked by going to a higher income bracket too soon
Glinessa: lol
JPennant: f'real
Glinessa: i hear you
JPennant: ive suffered too much these last few years to muck it all up
Glinessa: lol
JPennant: suffering is holy :-)
The only thing you can be sure of at the moment is that you cannot be sure of anything. If you need to make a decision concerning your career, wait until Friday when an excellent aspect will make sure you make the right decision. Don't let anyone, no matter how well-meaning, persuade you to act before then.

its not that i follow my horrorscope, it just confirms what Im gonna do anyway.

Although ... its kinda getting scary.

Maybe I dont need to know.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Early edition

JPennant: one thing ive come to like about the west coast ;-)
JPennant: football comes on at a reasonable hour
Glinessa: lol

Its a cool thing to wake up on a weekend, and football is on at 9am.

And monday night football is on at 6pm.


Not like the ol' days... Id have to wait til 1pm for the Chicago Bears games, unless they were on the west coast, and noon in New York

Its also kinda nice to wake up and the financial markets are already open, even tho I dont really pay attention since i dont work on Wall Street anymore.

And I dont have any money. ;)

When I first came out here, id keep my laptop time on East Coast time, better to synchronize with my peeps.

now, eh. Im on when Im on.

So, yeah - football at nine.

Although the drawback is that one of my favorite programs, CBS Sunday Morning is on at *#^^&@ 6am.

What kinda devil worship is that??
Another cool thing is that Im able to read the next day's NY papers online before I go to sleep.

As well as my favorite web comic.

Again, pretty cool.

The drawback to that tho is that waking up in the morn, a lot of its old news, as the media outlets are drawing their news from the east coast. The only real news seem to be the news from this time zone.

Funny thing Ive noticed in that mein.. there is not a whole lot of diversity in the news.

This is not to say that this isnt a great newspaper town, with the dominant SF chronicle, the free SF Examiner, the San Jose Mercury news, the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times, supplemented by the excellent edgy and opinionated free weekly papers, the East Bay Express, SF Weekly and Guardian.

This wealth may seem to make my assertion about news diversity ridiculous.. but its not New York.

I can get the NY Times and WSJ out here, but there is no real tabloid like the NY Post and Daily News out here, their content not totally diluted by AP wire services.

I do miss that.

Man, if they printed the national edition of the Post out here.. I think Id be happy. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2004



Louisiana Sunday Afternoon - Diane Schuur

Some singers will take an old standard, like Franne Golde & Peter Iver's song of desire and loving set in the bayou, and make their version the definitive standard.

Diane schuur OWNS this song.

Her five octave wails and growls sends chills thru my gut every time I hear it, her phrasing putting into my mind the shadows, moss, heat and mist in the bayou.

And Ive never been there.


My father was a cop for over 20 years. When he retired, the only thing he kept as a daily reminder of his JCF days was his heavy silver uniform belt buckle, wearing it with thick leather belts.

And his ex-con friends.

Like many things, i didnt understand about my fathers viewpoint until i got older, and I was horrified that he would consort with people he'd actually put in jail.

i thought my father had lost his everloving mind.

My father even trusted them to watch over me when he wasnt around, for which they actually did an exemplary job.

Now, having come to California, ive met a lot of people whove done time, and ive come to now appreciate, if not wholly understand, my pop's point of view.

Many older ex-cons, with the stupidity of youth driven out of them, have a quality that is probably shared with veterans who've been in war: An appreciation for what they want out of life and the determination never to waste the opportunities they receive.

This, as my father did, is a quality i appreciate and try to live.

For I made some promises to myself: Use money for a purpose, not simply to spend it when I can. Make things happen. Get out and about without being forced.

That last one, Ive failed miserably this past week. Only this afternoon did i leave the house since wenesday.

I gots to do better.

Next week's horrorscope concurs:

No matter how much of a homebody you might be, you must not limit your movements this week. In fact, you should aim to be on the move every day.

The more you get out and meet new people, the more likely it is you will learn something to your benefit. Fate will be kind if it can see you are making an effort.

Yeah, cuz I promised myself.
I did set out this afternoon.

Partly to get a good meal, partly to restock supplies, but mostly to get my ass out the door.

Nice day, in the San Francisco idiom. Sunny, little fog, relatively clear, no wind and temps in the mid sixties.

The sun is bright as usual but high clouds and the waning of the fall/winter sun produced wispy shadows everywhere. So, after my meal i took a random bus (the #37 Corbett) and took the scenic route through the Cole and Noe Valley neighborhoods of million dollar properties perched over much of greater San Francisco.

(A San Francisco pronunciation guide; 'Noe' is not pronounced "No". It is pronounced "No-E", as in "Joey". Sorta like showing yourself as a non-NY native if you pronounce 'Houston Street' as you would the texas city, instead of 'How-ston' like a proper deranged New Yorker.)

The view alone lifted my spirits, making me glad I ventured outside.

This time on that ride, I realized something. I could see my house and realized how I could go straight home downhill by going down 14th street.

The more you stay in one place, you eventually 'anchor' yourself, and directions become meaningful. Up a street, down the block. Dont even have to think about.

Good to gain familiarity, dont want to lose the wonder.

Another promise to myself.