27 May 2006

X3

Okay, so I do things that don't involve worrying about moving to San Francisco. Last night we saw the new X-Men movie. My thoughts:

1. Stay through the ending credits. There's an extra scene at the very end, after the credits.

2. Bryan Singer, come back! Something was missing from this film. It was just a series of action sequences held together by a very weak storyline. I know that's what X-Men films are anyway, but under Bryan Singer the storyline was better, more developed; I cared about the characters more; and there were fewer loose ends. This new director had me thinking about too many practical concerns. I couldn't get swept up in the magic of the mutants. (We also thought that a fourth one directed by Tim Burton would be fun.)

3. If you're unfamiliar with the X-Men like I am, it will take you a while to figure out what Kelsey Grammar's mutant does, other than be blue. They never refer to him as his mutant name, and he doesn't show his other powers until the very end. His special power, other than be blue? He's The Beast, and he kicks ass.

4. To tie in the theme of San Francisco that's running through my life right now, the movie takes place partly on Alcatraz. I hope to god I am not driving across the Golden Gate Bridge the day Magneto comes to town!

If you like X-Men action, it's an enjoyable film.

25 May 2006

The Movers and Moving

Today someone from the moving company is coming to evaluate our possessions. He's going to laugh and say, "That's it? You need movers for this small amount of crap?" We essentially have 2 couches and an armoire, and the rest is books, clothes, kitchen stuff, and random stuff. But we obviously can't bring all that on the plane. And we're hoping it gets integrated with our San Diego apartment, which is still in storage, so it all gets to San Francisco together.

It's going to be weird to get two apartements' worth of stuff delivered to us in SF. We'll have to sort through our old SD stuff and our new DC stuff and decide what should be thrown out, what should be given away, and what can stay. And what we'll still have to buy. For DC living, we had to buy practically a whole new kitchen, and I tried to buy dishes that will go with our SD stuff, but I've started to forget what our old stuff looks like. We're going to have enough dishes to feed more people than we know, and the dishes will all be mismatched.

And all our books and CDs and movies. We'll have to buy a lot more shelving space. I think we threw out some of our bookcases when we left SD because we didn't think they'd survive another move. We bought a bookcase here, but it doesn't even hold all the books we've purchased while we've been here.

Oh, and I tend to forget that Mike had a whole garage full of bike stuff in SD. That's all in storage, too, and will need a place to live in SF. Finding an apartment or house with a garage will be difficult.

Living without your usual possessions for a while makes you realize that they aren't really that important. I know that sounds so after-school-specially. Sure, it's nice to have stuff, and I've missed watching movies on a big screen TV instead of a small computer monitor, but it's not the end of the world; I still get to watch the movies. It's certainly not essential for survival. I'm not going entirely zen or minimalist here, but I'd like to think I'm at least more aware of what we need versus what we want, and spending habits and investment items.

Everytime I think about our stuff that's been in storage for the last year, it's always the same things that I think about missing the most -- my books and CDs and movies. I guess I like media.

Something to Look Forward To

Well, other than the regular fun of living in San Francisco.

The Red Sox play a series in Oakland in July. It would be great if I get to 2 Sox games in one season. I'd break my record for Sox games attendance!

24 May 2006

Grouch, Grouch, Grouch

We have to give our 30 days notice for the apartment this week. The guy who is supposed to write our official letter, in lieu of our official travel orders (which we still don't know when we'll get), is on vacation.

We finally heard from the travel tech who is supposed to answer some of our questions about how we actually move. On Monday she told us that she meant to tell us last month that we didn't properly make a formal request, so we have to do that right away and wait for some review board to approve or deny our travel plans. Yesterday we made our proper formal request, and it was received. We have no idea how long it will take to get an answer. I added a plea that no matter what the answer is, to please let us know right away so we can make arrangements for the cats. It's harder to fly with pets than it is with babies.

Now my worrying and anxiety has officially started. The last two or three days I've stayed up too late reading until I eventually fall asleep, only to wake up ridiculously early the next morning, unable to get back to sleep. I'll sleep when I get to San Francisco.

Is this any way to run a government?!?!?!?

19 May 2006

Change o' plans

We're going to Rhode Island this weekend instead of Memorial Day weekend. We hope to be on the road at 2:00 this afternoon. After thinking about the long drive, we decided doing it on a regular weekend will be easier than on the holiday weekend.

18 May 2006

Required Reading

The movers are coming on June 19 to pack out our apartment. That's the only thing we actually have finalized right now.

In order to focus on the big positive -- We are moving to San Francisco! -- I've been compiling lists of movies and books about SF. Some I've read and seen already. The rest I'd like to read and see in the near future.

Books:

*On the Road, Jack Kerouac
*Howl, Allen Ginsberg
*A Crack in the Edge of the World, Simon Winchester
*The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
*Tales of the Fish Patrol, Jack London
*The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

Movies:
*So I Married an Axe Murderer, with Mike Meyers
*San Francisco, with Clark Gable (coming out on DVD in June!)
*Tales of the City, PBS miniseries
*The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, documentary
*The Beatles: Liverpool to San Francisco, documentary
*Berkeley in the Sixties, documentary
*and good preparation for any move out to California, the American Experience episode about the Donner Party

16 May 2006

San Francisco Survey

Mike's been sending out this essay-question exam to people he knows in SF. Anyone who has any info, please feel free to share.

Was wondering about the Sunset/Ocean Beach/Richmond districts; they seem to be a bit cheaper albeit more residenal than the center of the city. Are they completely suburban, or is there a decent 'feel' to the neighborhoods? Can you walk to stuff (restaurants, grocery store), or do you have to drive/take transit? How's the trip downtown from there...decent mass transit available?

North Beach and Telegraph hill seem very cool, but I don't see much chance of us getting anything bigger than perhaps a small 2 BR for under $2k, and with the pets and my bikes and Steph's sewing, I don't see too much chance of making that work. Same issues with SoMA, Mission, and Bernal Heights, I'd assume?

Berkely seems to be a cool town, and we'd be nearer to my family, but I'm wondering about the commute to downtown. It's on the BART, so I don't see why it'd be too bad, but you never know...Biggest question is about suburbs on the penninsula like Freemont and Pacifica. Are they simply bland, generic McTowns, or is there any redeeming quality to them? Is a commute to downtown workable? (One guy at the office lives in Fremont and says it's fine...25 min in the morning, 45 in the evening...) We could get a lot of space for the money living out there, but I don't want to sacrifice the whole experience of living in/near SF for the sake of another bedroom or a garage...

Finally, what options are there north of the city? Sausalito? Anything?


He's freaking out in his own way. Occasionally our freakouts complement each other and we get some work done. I'm really hoping we can find something in Berkeley, otherwise I'd like to get as far out of the city as possible. I'm tired of little apartments.

15 May 2006

Two steps forward, one step back

I've been lazy on the blog front, and that's mostly because not much has changed in the last week. And I've pretty much been lazy on all other fronts, too. I don't know if it's allergies or what, but something has me feeling funky lately.

A couple minor shimmery spots: 1) We don't need Mike's travel orders to break our lease. A note from someone who appears official can write a letter, and that will suffice. 2) One of Mike's cousins who lives in Oakland will be away the week we arrive and needs a dog-sitter. So we have a free house for a few days!

We still don't know exactly how we'll be moving or exactly what we'll be doing with the cats. As I've been typing, Mike emailed a link to Flypets.com. We'll be looking in to this.

Oh, but there's a new complication -- Mike's car registration expires on June 12. We certainly won't be back in CA by then. I'm under the impression it needs smog this year; Mike doesn't think so. I just noticed the expiration date today, so soon we'll be getting around to going to the DMV website to see what's what. (We kept the car and our licenses as CA until we knew for certain where we'd be moving to. Since it turned out to be CA, there was no need to change them to VA.) Mike and I are currently emailing back and forth about what to do with the car registration. If it doesn't need smog, we can renew online... but we don't have a current CA address!

Why is this so freakin' hard?

03 May 2006

What to do with the cats?

What to do with the cats? It looks like they'll fly out with us and we'll put them in a kennel for a week or so, or we'll find a pet-friendly hotel. We need to research the costs of those two options. We'll get reimbursed for the cats' airfare, but all of the lodging, for us and the cats, comes out of our own pockets. I found a page on the San Francisco SPCA website that lists pet-friendly apartments, so that will be a good reference for apartment searching. Unfortunately it's unmoderated, so the apartment buildings aren't rated or reviewed. Anyone can list their apartment.

After living in this wall-to-wall carpeted apartment, we really, really want hardwood floors. Or linoleum. Or anything that's easier to keep free of fur and furballs than carpet.

02 May 2006

Moving Day Is Sneaking Up

A couple days ago I bought a San Francisco guidebook so we could get an idea about some of the neighborhoods, and look at some maps, and think about where to eat and what to do once we get there. It's Frommer's. It's okay; every guidebook has to be taken with a grain of salt. It's a good guide of where the touristy stuff is and how to stay away from those areas.

I like maps that have public transit routes on them, and some of the maps in this book does. We narrowed down some of the neighborhoods we had in mind, based on their access to BART or MUNI. We're hoping to stay a 1-car household, so public transit is a very important factor for us. When we moved to D.C. I bought D.C. for Dummies, and it was mostly useless, except for the maps showing the Metro stops. I consult those maps often, because it's almost impossible to find your way around without a streetmap that also has Metro stops marked. (Why would anyone even print maps without the Metro stops on them?)

We also recently called in a favor from someone we know with real estate contacts in San Francisco. We really need help looking for an apartment. Think about how much time and money it costs to look for an apartment in the city you're currently living in. Then multiply that by at least 10 to get an idea of what's it's like to look for an apartment in a city 3,000 miles away from where you currently live. We just don't have the time and money to make a lot of trips out there to look for places before the move. I'm not scared yet. It's a big city with zillions of apartments. I'm sure we'll find something when the time is right.

Chapter Six: The Shoemaker: A Tale of Two Cities with Women

For background on the project and to see all the chapters at once, go to the tag A Tale of Two Cities Project . Chapter Six: The Shoemak...