Day 243: soul flower

My desk seemed a bit barren, so I picked up some flowers from the local farmers market last Friday. Not knowing a thing or three about flowers, I bought some that wouldn't last through the weekend.

Luckily, one of my officemates (read: minions) used to work at a nursery (for plants, not kids) does know a thing or three about flowers, so he brought some in that would last for more than a few hours.

Your First Year: "You Have Made It"

"I want to extend my personal congratulations to you on your first anniversary with SAIC!"

Today marked my first anniversary of the day of my origination of employment with my current job.

We first met last summer on a whim. I was still in school. I wasn't looking for anything serious, but I saw your profile online. How you described yourself was intriguing to me, and I could see a long term potential between us. So I tried to get a hold of you.

To my surprise, you contacted me soon after I first attempted to get in touch with you. You wanted to meet that week. Given I had nothing to lose just meeting you, I agreed, and by Friday I was back in the Bay Area, ready to see what chances I had with you.

Our first meeting turned out to be fairly pleasant. We chatted, we clicked, and exchanged information with the promise that one of us would get a hold of each other again. I did my best to not seem desperate and call back first, but I couldn't help it. I had to contact you somehow, so I sent you an email thanking you for your time.

A few days later, I received wonderful news. You had called me back! We spoke for a bit, and you told me you wanted to be with me. I was ecstatic. I couldn't help but feel relentless joy at the fact that we would be meeting again. But we had to wait until we would be together again. I wouldn't be free to see you again until I was done in Southern California.

You were the reason I came back home to the Bay Area. When we did meet again, it was official between us. Although at first we would only be able to see each other for part of the time, I enjoyed our time together. I wanted more time together. I frequently expressed how I wish we could spend more time with each other.

After a few months, we finally started spending our days fully with each other. It was bliss. I definitely felt the benefits of being in a full time relationship with you.

Days and months passed, and I began to grow tired of you. I'll admit I began to grow bored of our full days together. Day after day, it was the same thing. Our time together grew mundane and soulless, and I began to search for someone else to devote myself to. I didn't believe we had a future together.

At the beginning of the summer, I found someone new. Someone who shared my goals and my passions, and who I believed I would have a real future with. I told you about this new devotion of mine. You were hurt at first, you did not want to let me go. We argued and we discussed what the future held for us. I admitted I didn't want to let you go completely, but I just wanted to explore new opportunities.

After some deep and interminable conversations, we agreed that we wouldn't see each other as much. I devoted more of my time to my new flame, and learned more and more about who I could see myself with in the future.

Time passed, and I grew to miss you. While you were stable and boring, I simply failed to see a future in the direction I was heading in. I came back to you, repentant, and grateful that you are going to take me back fully.

Well here we are, one year later. I'm happy to have you and appreciate all that we've shared with each other. Are you?

"what is this, a wannabe full house?"


Day 242: el camino real

I pass by this cool panoramic of all of San Mateo County everyday at my internship, but it's taken until my second to the last day to actually appreciate it.


"And I remember way back when..."

Ps...please ignore the douche-y kids trying to act like they all hard in the video. Unfortunately, they're one of the few youtube videos who have the actual track posted.


Day 241: block by block

Trying to break into the world of filmmaking and video editing (or at least, looking for something to break the monotony of proofreading bus schedules everyday), I volunteered to help assist a friend with his production of a commercial/music video/promotional video for Jean Quan, a mayoral candidate of Oakland. While in the end I was assigned "security duty" and received no screen time as I was busy watching everyone's bags, I did get a good firsthand look at the behind the scenes work of even small, 3 minute productions such as this.

Plus, we got free sandwiches at the end.


Day 240: napa

It wasn't the first time I've gone wine tasting, but it was the first time I've gone in actual wine country.

A friend's birthday gave us the excuse to ride bikes buzzed. Hopefully there aren't any laws against that...


Day 239: raider nation

Oh, just another day in downtown Oakland, is all.


Day 238: back to normal

Welcome back, perpetual fog!

And welcome back, semi-daily run/walks! I think my legs have finally recovered from the 17 mile hike...


Day 237: doontoon

We've been experiencing a bit of a heatwave here in the Bay Area (by heatwave I mean actual summer weather). And though that was a scary 2 days, I'm glad the fog has started rolling back in again.


Day 236: department of cinema

"we're a very poor department...but it's very cheap to go here!"


Day 235: on the road again

Goodbye Yo-se-mite.

Thanks for fresh air, constant bear sightings, and for making my legs feel like they'd been beaten repeatedly by some sort of inanimate carbon rod.


Some years ago in high school, our jazz band pulled out this chart for Stan Kenton's Send in the Clowns. It was intimidating at first...my piano sheet music had nothing on it (which in jazz meant that the whole piece had to be improvised). I'll leave it at that I was a bit a "rough around the edges" when we gave this song a spin...and we put it away after two tries, never to look at it again.

Damn shame.

"but how would you get ice cream? that's the only thing I'd be concerned about if I lived out here in the middle of nowhere."


Day 234: 1/2 dome

It had always been on my bucket list(s) to climb Half Dome in Yosemite. This huge, 8,836 foot tall piece of granite has eluded many for years as "perfectly inaccessible." Then someone climbed it once and suddenly it was the in thing to do. Anyways, this weekend was spent in Yosemite with the sheer goal of conquering that 7 mile up, 8.2 mile down hike that spanned an elevation gain of about 4,800 feet, and while we had our doubts at some point, we knew we got this...
The trail doesn't waste any time and already starts off as steep as hell. Less than a half mile in we were already panting and stopping to "take pictures."

The trail then breaks off and turns into some fairly steep rock stairs that just keep going...

and going...

...until you reach the top of Vernal Falls. The worst part about this part of the hike is the presence of the Emerald Pool, an oasis-like pond that would be perfect to dip your aching feet in, were it not for the fact that you can't swim there anymore.

The trail continues along a slight incline through the trees until we find ourselves at...
...more of these damn rock steps.

The most heartbreaking part about it all is that at the top of those endless rock steps, you realize you've only gone about 2.5 miles:

The trail continues through some misleadingly flat meadows (the calm before the storm, so to speak) until we reach a multi-mile zig-zagging uphill descent through a trail up the mountain.

After at least an hour or two of non-stop inclines, you get a decent view of Half Dome from behind to serve as a reminder as to how far away you still are, and how steep that climb up the rock is gonna be.

A short foray through an uphill shaded trail and after surrendering the tickets required to climb Half Dome to the ranger posted there, we find ourselves on the final stretch up to the rock...
...more of those damn steep rock steps.

The trail of steps ends eventually and we find ourselves just scaling what's called the "sub-dome" directionless, hoping that we don't climb our way off the cliff.

We eventually reach the top of sub-dome...which is where real fun begins:
In case you can't see, those cables that are running down the side of Half Dome are the only way up to the top. They're spaced about 3 feet across to allow the climber to grip both sides on their ascent or descent. There are poles that hold up the cables every 5 or 6 feet up with planks of wood to provide some sort of stable surface to stand on. You need gloves to hang on to these wire cables, because a good amount of your weight will be lifted with your arms. If you slip and fall or let go, it will be a long way down and you will for sure fall to your death. The cables must be shared for both those going up and coming down, and when passing through, one must let go of one side of the cables and hang on for dear life. They expect you to make this climb after you've already finished hiking 7 miles uphill...

And it lasts for about 900 feet up.
but hey, no pressure!
With every step up, I find myself growing increasingly more tired, fatigue setting in faster with every breath of rapidly thinning air. I avoid looking down at all costs. I desperately needed to take a break from climbing, but I knew that the longer I stayed hanging there, the worse it would get. Thankfully, the top is eventually reached...

It's already 4:30 by the time we reach the top (we started at 9:30, by the way). It's deserted up here and we're the only ones. It was a bit unnerving, but overall still was kinda cool.

After a few obligatory funny poses on the edge...

...and after taking care of some business
oh yes he did!

We made our long 8.2 mile descent back. By then it was already 5pm and the sun was rapidly setting.

We must've hiked for a good 3 miles in 2 hours in pitch darkness with only a few small flashlights leading the way. 12 hours after starting our journey, we finally made it back to the campsite, where lukewarm Coors Lite in a can awaited us.

Although about 50,000 people climb Half Dome a year, it doesn't take away the sense of accomplishment we all felt at the end of it all. No doubt that it was both mentally and physically challenging (and torture on the knees, too). Not just anyone could have gone on this hike and expect to make it all the way. But dammit, we survived.

I happen to throw around the phrase "I can die happy now" alot. Cases in point:

"I won a cookbook in a raffle tonight. I can die happy."
-May 14, 2009
"I just got a shoutout on ucla radio...I can now die happy"
-Jul 14, 2009

But after crossing this one off my bucket list, I think I actually mean it this time (until the next time I decide to use this phrase again).


Day 233: yo-se-mite

Our first day in Yosemite culminated with a short, 1 mile warm up hike to Yosemite Falls. The increase of elevation was only maybe about a few hundred feet, but at the end of the trail, there were some rocks you could climb across to get to the base of the waterfall.
...and do really cool martial arts-esque poses on top of
At the top of the waterfall was a little pool that people could jump in and swim in to invigorate their senses (by which I mean scream out in pain since the melted snow water was still freezing cold)
"it's coooooollllllddd" -my cousin

BONUS, kinda unrelated picture to the general theme of this post:

Boy, some people are really roughing it out here.


Day 232: chevy cobalt

En route to Yosemite! Hopefully my shitty compact rental car can make it up the mountain...


Day 231: frustration

Excuse me sir, but you may direct all your complaints to Transit.511.org. The sign is not going to answer your questions.


Day 230: secret garden

What my pictures of the day have been as of late:

Look up! A pretty ceiling with nice windows and possibly plants in the foreground! Or a view from the top of some building or cliff that looks off into the distance:

Next I describe the picture with(sometimes) witty banter that describes the location and why it's significant to me.

In this case, this is the courtyard in the middle of my new office building that remains hardly touched and visited except by the few office tenants who know of its whereabouts during lunch.

Look at that, like clockwork.


Day 229: back to school...kinda

Ah, community college. Society's current last resort for the unemployed to fill their empty and otherwise unproductive days (believe me, I saw it firsthand).

Thus why thanks to the influx of these former professionals turned incoming students, the City College of San Francisco has dropped my admission from last spring semester for "inactivity" (I just didn't register for any classes, is all!) and won't allow me to register this semester. Thanks!


Day 228: left out

You mean there was cake in the office and I was not informed?

::sniff sniff::


Um, this is the sexiest song that was ever written.

"The bathroom? It's not lit and it smells like feet"


Day 227: I think I'm finally in shape...

...my legs aren't even burning anymore after my weekly hike.

Our last Sunday hike before our foray into Yosemite and Half Dome brought us to Castle Rock in Saratoga.

I know I always put a view of the horizon when it comes to my Sunday hikes posts, so to change it up a bit, here's a picture of me looking down:


Day 226: nostalgia

While perusing through my storage unit today, I came across 4 old gems.

If you're expecting me to post a picture of spiky haired, big chain-wearing teenage me on here as well, too bad. Why would you want to see a thing like that?

Besides, I already did last year.

Day 225: off the grid

Off The Grid is a conglomeration of at least 21 mobile food trucks that gather together every Friday night at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Coming off the recent influx of the popularity of mobile food fusion, this mobile marketplace consisted of the likes of such trucks as Senor Sisig, Kung Fu Tacos, Soul Cocina...

Although honestly it was hard to tell the difference between the carne asada fries and the sisig fries and the $9 ramen probably wasn't worth it, I'd have to say that there were enough choices there to get me to come back again (and again, again, take a break for a week, and then again).