monanotlisa: (olivia b/w half-smile profile - fringe)
3 x Non-Fannish Things

1. I'm flying to Germany tomorrow for family reasons. Aside from the great loss of money through flights and unpaid vacation time, the preparation for the trip caused me considerable grief: because even if your United States employer has paid 10,000 USD for you to get you the temporary foreign worker visa known as H1B? You still have to actually be granted the visa in your home country after another lengthy and expensive application process and an in-person interview. The US official in the consulates can and sometimes does refuse it. But then again, grief is the watchword of this trip home anyway.

2. Been eating all the ice-cream. ALL THE ICE-CREAM. When you're in the Bay Area, head over to Tara's Organic Ice-Cream, Bi-Rite Creamery, and Smitten Ice Cream

3. The weather is still gorgeous here in the East Bay, even in late October. I am not looking forward to gray skies and rain, endless drizzles and wet clothing (but at least houses are well-insulated in Germany).

3x Fannish Things

1. [personal profile] selenak gives us a fantastic MCU Captain America Has No Man Pain rant.

2. Continuing the Marvel news --
a. I'm still ridiculously in love with Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanova. If you want to cheer me up in any way, they're the ticket.
b. Those comics are really addictive. Ongoing series I follow: Black Widow (2014); Hawkeye (2012); Ms Marvel (2014).

3. Other shows I watch:
a. The Good Wife, A+++, BEST SHOW ON NETWORK TV STILL
b. Sleepy Hollow, A-, with the sweetest and, let's face it, most attractive protagonists, and my favorite current sisterly relationship on tv. If only the history were slightly less ridic.
c. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: B-, not enough Simmons and Skye but great May so I remain hopeful.
d. How To Get Away With Murder, B+, overblown plot in a ridiculous alternate universe of graduate school education, but Viola Davis is endlessly compelling in an acting tour de force, and Alfie Enoch is beautiful. The on-screen dudesex sex doesn't hurt a bit either. Plus, anything that evokes Donna Tartt's The Secret History is a must-watch for me.
e. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, A, love love love it; still firing on all cylinders, and it makes me laugh.
f. Arrow, B, let's see where it goes -- hopefully not killing more [spoilers], and hopefully getting [spoilers] together.
monanotlisa: (omar - the wire)
1. Currently waiting for my sister to call me back, because I am abusing her empathic yet razor-sharp self as the ultimate advice-giver. You familiar with that Sartre lecture about the young man during WWII who asked him about whether to join the Free French forces or stay home with his ailing mother? Moral of the story aside, my situation's not nearly as dire, but boy howdy, it sure feels that way. Thanks a lot, brain.

2. Had a good weekend, at any rate: Beat a big strong lady of my acquaintance at arm-wrestling at 1am during Scotch Night, admired an old gent on the dancefloor swing like it was still 1950, and was fed a multi-course dinner in a chaotic but beautiful home in the hills of San Francisco.

3. Work is...yes. On the plus side, I had an infinitely soothing conversation with my new(ish) boss today, who flat-out acknowledged in a discussion of United States and to a good degree European society that no, wait, the problem wasn't that the pie was getting smaller; it is that less and less people have more of that fucking pie.

4. Sports-wise, my successful and completely painless 5k made me reach for the stars, basically: How about another 5k? A 10k? How about emulating Katniss, Merida, Alison Argent, or Kate Bishop, and learning archery? Other suggestions for intense sports not requiring any sideways knee action including torque welcome!

5. I know I've posted these elsewhere, but check out my work wife and my favorite project manager for the Company Picnic 2014. Culture Committee Members (and winners of the overall teams contest, hel-lo) represent!
monanotlisa: (cleavage! - sga)
Life, I mean.

No complaints, really. I know; that's indeed coming from me! In the recent few weeks, apart from being over-worked and keeping up with my exercises and such, I have managed to

1. indoor sky-dive during a Department Offsite (with obvious team-building elements) down in the Bay,
2. climb across various ropes and ladders in the treetops and zipline through the forest with a bunch of Bay Area professionals, as well as swim in Lake Tahoe,
3. enter a friendly baking contest at work and gaze lovingly at my creation for a sad Monday,
4. show this beautiful house and enjoy an artsy Oakland dinner with a former colleague of mine from ye olde place of work in Germany who currently & temporarily works on the East Coast for one of the big players in my field there, bringing his little son and his once-again-pregnant wife, and
5. celebrated the German World Cup victory with friends and workmates at a sports bar down the street from my house (all of us painted black-red-gold, of course).

There's more, but, y'know. We love lists of fives, we do.
monanotlisa: Chime giving Moon the side-eye for breaking protocol again. (chime & moon - raksura)
When they tell me to stop and smell the roses, I'm pretty likely snort and just rip the poor flower out to curiously sniffle at it while hurrying from one place to another. But.

This morning, at my garden gate, I realized my Clipper card, the charge card for public transport in the Bay Area, was not in its usual pouch in my swag-bag. Of course, I was already a little late to head out to the BART station. I stopped, hesitated. The card was probably in said bag. Most likely I would be able to find it rummaging through said bag while walking briskly to the station. But then I thought better of it: I walked a few steps back into my new house's (beautiful, serene) front garden, sat down in one of the terrace chairs, and calmly unpacked my bag. Found the card, but then, there was this loud buzzing noise just behind my ear, then by my ear...

CUE MY DISNEY PRINCESS MOMENT.

Probably should have broken out into a merry song at that point. Speaking of cues, perhaps my li'l familiar left because it I totally missed mine.

(Sidenote, I watched Lilo & Stitch with A&R the weekend before last. It is the best Disney movie that feels basically nothing like a Disney movie. <3)
monanotlisa: Steve Rogers jumping down against a bright blue sky with clouds, his shield centering the eye. (steve rogers - captain america)
Not that I ever thought this particular love of mine was in any way unusual, but turns out that I am really not the only Steve Rogers fan at my company.

So the Culture Committee, of which I am a member, has been planning a Fourth of July -- well, technically it's on July 3rd -- Film Viewing. We came up with three properly patriotic movies, among them Independence Day and The Sandlot, and our office manager polled all co-workers.

Captain America: The First Avenger won...by one vote. \o/ I get to watch Steve Rogers during a long lunch break and get paid for it! Thank you, universe.

P.S.: My work spouse turned to me and said, "I voted Captain America just for you." <3
monanotlisa: (scrubs! - duh)
It's summer in Berkeley! So, you know; I came home and immediately turned the heat and the lights on.

::

Now I'm not so sure about this raw vegan curry I got at the store the other day...s ago. I don't think it's supposed to ferment? But it's too expensive to toss!

If I don't check back in tomorrow, please sue Whole Foods and donate the damages to the OTW. Cheers.

::

Oh, do you too use Picasa -- or did you, and then the forced Google+ integration drove you insane?

Here's a direct link to force Picasa, old-skool display style.
monanotlisa: (explore - sga)
I know, it's mostly *crickets* around here these days, but I've been so happy to see some of y'all update about life and fandom both, so let's see. Literally.

With my friend Vee, I did a little trip down the San Francisco peninsula down to Half Moon Bay; the weekend after, I went to Seattle to see [personal profile] pukajen, got to know [personal profile] prime_meridian, and managed to pull poor [personal profile] minim_calibre into a game of Cards Against Humanity in a cider bar where all of us drank way too much and stuffed ourselves with gluten-free pub foods. All excellent, except I wasn't quite energetic enough by the end to meet up with [personal profile] gwyn, which I hope to do next time I'm up in the City of Flowers. (Flowers love the rain, it's true.)

Cities by the Water )
monanotlisa: Steve Rogers jumping down against a bright blue sky with clouds, his shield centering the eye. (steve rogers - captain america)
This morning's been a bust: No Room Of One's Own )

On the plus side, this way I could finally discover Kabuki Springs & Spa in San Francisco: After the first cancellation I went straight from work to Japantown in San Francisco, to get a massage and some hours in the spa. Basically, I was the poster child for the white professional woman in the City. And Kabuki was glorious -- a good massage of my shoulders, yes, but the best part were the communal baths: Nudity under the cut )
monanotlisa: (blueberry pancakes)
I am sitting in a spacious kitchen with people I love very much, and after breakfast we're going to Santa Cruz for shoe-shopping and looking at puppies to take home.

:P
monanotlisa: (justin! - ub)
1. I came to work this morning to find a bottle of good German Riesling on my desk: My boss had, during her travels, encountered a German vintner ("with the bluest eyes you can ever imagine"), been wined and dined by her hosts, and decided to take a bottle along for oenophile me. There may be, um, pictorial evidence of this.

2. WARM NIGHTS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. You only understand the all-caps if you've lived in this place or a similar one, climate-wise: The sun is bright and the days are hot...but mornings and nights are freezing. Sometimes literally. My home, the Lower Rhine Valley in Germany, is miserable for the majority of the year when it comes to weather, true. Our summer nights are real, though: Every year we can count on being able to sit outside on our balconies, porches, terraces, and even in our gardens in the late evening: in the dark, but enveloped by warmth, with only a soft breeze to counter the heat of the day. This, this is what this feels like. (More pictorial evidence of me taking advantage of this weather: I leave the house early and come back late, so I can't wear dresses here in the Bay Area, especially in summer.)

3. Last week, I met up with a fellow Berkeley alumnus first encountered at a reception in the City. It was one of the best nights in recent weeks (and not a single piece of clothing came off). To have this extremely good-looking, smart, sharply-dressed professional so genuinely interested in me was lovely. Nothing will happen, because reasons. But I appreciate the universe reminding me that the Venn diagram for "people I am attracted to" and "people who are attracted to me" is not *always* two separate circles.

4. While I harbor no illusions about work becoming anything less of a challenge any time soon, I have been wrapping up a lot of smaller workstreams lately, and the other departments relying on my input have been openly appreciative of that. Since this is California, their mails and chats involved quite a few emoticons and exclamation marks. That was, frankly, awesome.

5. I am still the Worst Networker In The World, but because that doesn't keep me from trying, I am confident I will work out some way to connect with people. If I have to, mirroring my personal life, go deeper with the ones I have a good time with, instead of developing the vast range of connections kids these days seem to favor, so be it. One size never fits all. (Like that's news.)
monanotlisa: (deep end)
Dear diary, today I realized only upon arrival at the pool that I had forgotten my bathing suit...but live two miles away all the way down the hill and have only a bike.

So I swam in my underwear. Bless the Anything Goes! trend for bikinis. (Or something that looks like one in the low light of the burned-out lamp by the poolside.)
monanotlisa: (spikesmile b/w - btvs)
I finished the December (Talking) Meme.

A roundup can be found here in the -- edited -- original post.

The individual entries can be accessed via my "meme" tag.
monanotlisa: somewhat self-explanatory... (muffins!!)
MOOD

Fall has come. (Please don't bring the A Song of Ice and Fire slogan up quite yet.)

I'm feeling more sleepy -- not bone-tired or even sad, just more sedate. The lack of light affects me, but I'm not complaining; I already moved from my slice of Germany with its 1400 hours of sunlight per year to a place with more than double -- Berkeley, at 3000 hours.

FOOD & SHELTER

Obviously, I'm always baking -- yesterday, with the other leftover German in my Master's program, we did cinnamon-apple muffins with a dash of almond -- but now I'm definitely feeling the love for sweetness warm out of the oven.

Warm being the operative word: My main issue with the Bay Area in fall and winter is not the lack of light, or the rain when it comes thundering down; it's the fact it's impossible here to maintain same level of warmth. People tend to be astounded when I tell them I'm rarely ever cold in Germany: For one, Germans dress pragmatically, that is, matching their clothing to the the current outside temperatures. Obviously this I can do. But the houses in this place are badly insulated, single-pane glass windows and thin wood structures, and the heating systems are outdated and inefficient. I understand there are many factors at play, economic and social and geographic, but that doesn't change the effect that the only times I've ever wanted to be somewhere else since July 2012 is the fall and winter season.

But yes, baking. I've had some pumpkin pies (and soups too) on my mind, for a reason: There's pumpkin-carving scheduled for this afternoon, with Chris and Zee here at my house -- three big, beautiful, brightly orange pumpkins are sitting and waiting for us in the garden.

LABOR & LEISURE

With the BART strike, however, things are not looking good. She can't make it here; we can't make it there via public transport with three huge pumpkins. Zee could drive across the Bay Bridge, of course, to her place in the Castro, but we'd be joining roughly 999,999 folks on the road this Sunday. Currently waiting for the boy to get back to me.

That said, I'm pro-labor, always; I support the right to strike even in public service and infrastructure operations. All I want is proper, prior notice, and at least in the end they gave us just that.
monanotlisa: (naomi & emily - skins)
Been staying in despite an invitation for free drinks and even freer queer academics in the City. But this was a long week of work and conferencing, the latter thoroughly disappointing, not to mention that it involved staying the night before with a friend in Silicon Valley who is wonderful but who has family that partially slept in the same room and got up at 6:30am in the morning.

Still, just under the wire -- hope y'all have had a good National Coming Out Day. (One of these I will bore the world with my thoughts on it.)
monanotlisa: (dani uh-huh - life)
Bay Area peeps -- can someone explain to me what's going on with BART & Caltrain Southbound from the City to the Valley?

I mean right now, Wednesday and Thursday -- not from Friday (with its possible strike).

Their websites sure don't mention that (or why) services are not running, but 511.org tells me there ain't no trains.
monanotlisa: (chibi johnrodney - sga)
I'm both Sheppard and McKay in the icon tomorrow: work --> professional event in the City --> celebration of having found work in her home in the Castro with Chris & a bottle of captivating Syrah Rose that d.irge got us on Sonoma Square after our tasting.

::



::

Still loving The Good Wife, falling in love with the characters and the crazy of Sleepy Hollow. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has Melinda May and Jossian quips, and therefore has me...and Brooklyn 99 is making me laugh (and also the perfect length to watch while preparing food).

Speaking of, today on my commute back my fellow passengers on BART must have been ready to call the men in the white coats because I was giggling so hard at these reviews by Genevieve Valentine over on io9 on Sleepy Hollow:

1x01: Here's why you should be watching Sleepy Hollow right now
The thing is – and I get it – this is a hard show to take on faith. The pitch is, “She’s a skeptical but driven law enforcement officer with a secret past, he’s a superstitious dude from another era who makes sarcastic jokes about things these days, and together they try to solve occult crimes that are genuinely creepy except for the laugh-out-loud cheesy parts!” That’s a show that has committed to everything, all at once! That’s an impossible pitch! (That’s essentially the pitch for The X-Files! We’ll come back to this.)

1x02: This Week, Sleepy Hollow Gets a Batcave!

1x03: Sleepy Hollow Is a Shirtless Nightmare This Week

I just love smart, snarky, deadpan recappers with perfect pictorial illustrations. (Though I guess all illustrations are pictorial. Ah, well.)

Folsom! <3

Sep. 29th, 2013 10:37 pm
monanotlisa: (electric girl - fs)
Good day.

One of the things I'd failed to account for is the community aspect of Folsom or, I'd hazard, any kink gathering, and that's easily the best one of 'em all. I'd been wondering whether I would feel shocked, or lost at sea -- a sea of cocks and balls, make no mistake -- but I didn't, not for a second. Folsom '13 musings, not particularly graphic, but conceptually kinky. )

*whistle*

Sep. 29th, 2013 01:19 pm
monanotlisa: LAFAYETTE FROM TB BEING FABULOUS! (lafayette - tb)
About to go volunteer at Folsom. Since my roommate is a Horse Person, I can even take a riding crop!

(I was promised free food, free massages, and the warm glow of knowing 100% of the proceeds of the merchandise I sell go into Bay Area QUILTBAG, feminist, immigrant, & otherwise socially oriented charities.)
monanotlisa: (dexter - duh)
Greetings from One-Two-Three Embarcadero! I have talked before about San Francisco's POPOS, right -- privately-owned public open spaces. If you come or live here, they're well worth integrating into your life (says the girl sitting in a pretty rooftop garden with free wi-fi).

I got up at 7am to go to a professional association lecture at 8:30am here, and will attend another school-sponsored tech event at City Hall later in the afternoon, so there's no use going back to the East Bay. But since I just learned tv seasons are finishing as well as starting --

can anyone give me the scoop on Dexter? Should I go and watch this last season? I left after the finale last year, disgusted; see the tag at the bottom of this post.

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