Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another year, another Miniversary!

Today is my Miniversary! I've been the proud owner of my little MINI Cooper for 3 years now.

I'm still really happy with it. Had some minor problems last year - the pillar cover flew off on the freeway, and my driver-side window's motor need to be replaced. They were both fixed during the same trip to the dealership, and both were covered under warranty. They also gave me a courtesy car while I was waiting that day. Nice.

In MINI related news: my Mom sent me this article from the San Jose Mercury News. It's an article about the MINI Billboard campaign that I'll be participating in. (I haven't received my key-fob in the mail yet - should be any day now!)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

...of course they did.

My Mom called me today telling me, "You know, if you had waited an extra week, you could have gotten your shuffle in a color!" Apparently, Apple just came out with a new version of the iPod Shuffle - now available in 5 colors!

My response, "Of course they did!"

As you may remember, I just got my new shuffle last week.

I figured I was safe. The new shuffles just came out at the end of last year, I went to MacWorld, there was no mention of anything new... Why would I think that I should wait an extra 2 weeks to order my shuffle in case they happen to come out with something new!

This always happens, of course. You buy it one day, and the next week (or day) it's outdated.

I've been planning to buy a new MacBook Pro (which I still call a Powerbook) but this time, I'm holding off until they announce the next upgrade/model. I just know that if I bought one today, they'll have something new next week.

Sheesh. As if it isn't hard enough trying to keep up with the Shahines!

Who needs a lime-green shuffle anyway? bah.

Monday, January 29, 2007

If My Life Was a Movie, What Would the Soundtrack Be?

My brother-in-law, Jeff, just sent this to me. (Actually, he's my Sister-in-law's Husband, or Dick's Brother-in-Law. Does that still make him my Brother-in-law?)

How to Play:
  1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)

  2. Put it on shuffle

  3. Press play

  4. For every section below, type the song that’s playing

  5. When you go to a new section, press the next button

  6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool …

It's kind of fun, but more importantly (for good, or for bad) it gives you a little peek into my music library!

Opening Credits:
Save Tonight (Eagle Eye Cherry)

First Day At School:
Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Annie Lennox)

Falling In Love:
All of You (Miles Davis)

Breaking Up:
We’ll be Together (Sting)

Never Get Old (Sinead O’Connor)

Mental Breakdown:
Express Yourself (Madonna)

Love (The Smashing Pumpkins)

Getting Back Together:
Raspberry Beret (Prince)

Wedding Scene:
When I Needed You (Erasure)

Final Battle:
Comes Love (Peter Cincotti)

Death Scene:
Rent (Pet Shop Boys)

Funeral Song:
Instanbul (Not Constantinople) (They Might Be Giants)

End Credits:
Weight of the World (Erasure)

It Doesn’t Have to Be (Erasure)

I'm not really sure what this all says about me.... except for the fact that my music library is a little heavy on the 80s music. (big surprise)

Somehow, it makes me feel good to know that "They Might Be Giants" will be playing at my funeral, and that I'll go out listening to "Erasure".

You can take the girl out of the gay bar, but you can't take the gay bar out of the girl...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Nice way to start a weekend...

My parents have a regular masseuse who comes to their house every-other-week. (Nice, huh?)

For Dick's birthday (in September) they gave him a gift certificate for a massage at our house by their masseuse. Dick and I have been meaning to schedule this appointment (and one for me, too!) for several months, and finally got around to booking an appointment for this morning.

Ahhhh... let me tell you... such a nice way to start off a weekend! Soooo very relaxing!
We'll have to see if we can make more of a habit of this! (she's fantastic!)

On a side note...

I had my massage first. When Dick started his massage, I took a shower, then decided to blow-dry my hair downstairs so that the noise wouldn't disrupt his massage. (We had our massages up stairs)

I brought my hair accoutrement to the downstairs bathroom. That's when it occurred to me that I've never blow-dried my hair in the downstairs bathroom before. How would I notice this? Because the mirror in the medicine cabinet downstairs is hung so high that I can barely see my face!

I remember when Dick and I hung the medicine cabinet - we had to find some kind of happy-medium so that we could both see ourselves in the mirror. Dick is about 6' 2", and I'm somewhere just under 5' 3". That's a pretty big discrepancy.

I'm pretty sure that Dick can just barely see his face (it's probably a scooch too low for him) and I can barely see mine (it's just a bit too high for me!). When I blow-dried my hair, I had to stand on my toes the whole time!

I don't really notice our height difference very often, so I had to laugh about it today!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oops! Good Morning!

Last night, I went to bed late (12:45am) because I was caught up with a work project.

I woke up again at 4:45 because it was still on my mind, and I needed to get up to finish it.

I went back to bed at 7:15, and woke up when the alarm went off at 8:00.

Needless to say, I'm a little tired.

I went downstairs to watch the news and eat breakfast. I made myself a hot mug of tea to help wake me up. As I was sitting on the sofa, Noe hopped up on my lap - she often sits with me when I'm eating breakfast. As I was sipping my tea, Noe rubbed her head up against my hands, wanting me to pet her. My mug of tea was still full, and hot tea came spilling down on my pajama top.

Yep, that'll wake you up!

The good news is, I got much further along on my work project.

The kicker is: I've got three working meetings scheduled throughout the day today, so I'd better start drinking some caffeine!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Happy 90th Birthday, Grandpa!

Today, my maternal Grandfather celebrates his 90th Birthday! Isn't that amazing?!

We took him out to dinner Saturday night, then we all went to my parent's house for cake. (Black Forest Chinese Cake - Yum!)

I think the recent move has been very good for both of my Grandparents. They have been very active and social in their new community. I'm also really enjoying being able to visit with them more often, since they live so close to my parents now. I feel so fortunate to be able to celebrate my Grandpa's 90th Birthday with him and our family.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa! May you have many, many more!

Grandpa and Grandma

Naming my new iPod

On my way home from Pilates this morning, I had a sudden a-ha! moment, and came up with a name for my new iPod Shuffle:


Now, I think this is very clever, but I'm wondering if anyone else will get it?

clue #1: Pod People

I also love that my Shuffle has a capacity of 1 gigabyte, and that its new name has the word "gig" in it! :)

How big is my iPod? Why, it's a FizzGig!

I am such a geek.

Do the "Shuffle"!

FedEx just knocked at my door and delivered my new iPod Shuffle to me! One of my sister-in-laws sent me a gift card for the Apple Store as a Christmas gift, so I used it towards the purchase of the new fabulously small shuffle. I love my regular iPod, but I've been wanting a smaller iPod that I can workout with, or take on walks with me. The Shuffle is perfect for this.

I haven't even plugged it in yet, (It was literally delivered just 10 minutes ago) but I had to comment on the packaging.

Say what you will about Apple, but they sure do know how to package a product. Seriously, I almost don't want to take the shuffle out of its case, because it just looks so pretty! (I'll get over it)

More later... (after I finally decide to take it out of its packaging!)

My (now seemingly monstrous) 40GB iPod with my new (teeny-tiny) iPod Shuffle.

(that was quick)

Cutest little dock ever

So far, I love this little thing!

Little iPod Shuffle Dock sitting on my PowerBook

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Today's BIG Walk!

I love a good urban hike!

Today, we set a new personal best by walking over 8 miles!

We left the house at Noon, and returned home at 5:00. When we left our house, we had no plan of where we were going, or how far we wanted to go. We just walked....

Around 1:00, we found ourselves on Eddy Street near Fillmore. I asked Dick, "You know what we're near, right?" He knew exactly what I was talking about! We turned onto Eddy Street, and stopped at Powell's Place for lunch! For those of you who have never been, Powell's Place is the place in SF for Soul Food. Yep. Fried Chicken, greens, and yams. It was delicious!

After lunch, we walked all the way to Pacific Heights, down to Chestnut Street. We even managed to squeeze in a few open houses in Cow Hollow!

We thought we'd make our way back up Van Ness Street to Market, then take the MUNI back Castro Street. As we were walking down Van Ness, I suddenly felt the need to complete the full loop of our walk - something we'd never done before. We took another break at a cool little bohemian cafe in Hayes Valley. Two drinks, and a chocolate chip cookie later, we were back on our feet, and walked back home.

So, we walked a little more than 8 miles in total. I'm feeling really good right now. It felt so good to really stretch our legs and breath in the fresh air all day. I'm sure we'll sleep well tonight! (and not feeling at all guilty about the fried chicken and chocolate chip cookie!)

sidenote: I always really feel really good about ourselves after Dick and I complete a big, urban hike.

...and then I remember that Tyler walked the entire length of Japan in 3 months straight!

It's really humbling to compare, because there's really no comparison at all! Oh well - I still feel good! :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm sorry, but, no...that's not okay.

Tomorrow morning is our trash pick-up. I always put our bins out to the sidewalk the night before.

I had to leave the house for the evening at 4:30 this afternoon. I brought out the trash and recycling bins before I left so I wouldn't have to do it in the dark once I got home tonight.

The way the billing for our trash pick-up works is that you are charged by the size of your receptacle. The larger it is, the more the company charges each month. Dick and I are only two people (with an occasional gay boyfriend) so the smaller size usually works out fine for us. It's just large enough for the amount of trash we have each week.

Last week, we had a delivery that was packed with a few large styrofoam squares (don't you hate those very un-PC, non-recyclable, pain-in-the-ass-to-dispose-of things?). They are really large, and would take up more than the capacity of our trash bin. My plan was to put one large square of styrofoam out with our regular trash each week until I've gotten rid of all of them.

When we got home tonight, I went around the house collecting the trash, getting ready to bring it outside. I picked up one of the styrofoam squares to put in the bin as well.

When I opened the lid to our bin, I discovered that our trash bin was already full! Someone else had thrown away their bag of trash in our trash bin! (I already had one full bag of trash at the bottom from earlier in the week, so it hadn't been completely empty) Normally, I guess I would think that would be okay, but still, not kosher. I mean, come on, we get charged by the capacity of the bin, and I plan for that amount of space. But tonight, and for the next couple of weeks, I really need as much room as I can get.

The topper is, the person left their opened mail at the top of their bag of garbage. Now I know the name and address of the neighbor who used my trash can. I looked over (a couple of houses down) at their bins, and saw that they were full. I guess they assumed I had put out all of my trash, had some extra room, and that it would be okay for them to encroach in my bin.

I realize that this is not a big deal, but still, it kind of rubs me the wrong way.

Next week, I'm going to fill their bin with all of my styrofoam! (kidding, of course, but the idea makes me smile in that vengeful sort of way....)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What Really Happened After the Death Star Blew Up

This just in from my sister-in-law (and fellow Star Wars Geek)...

So funny!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cold Kitties

It's been awfully cold here lately. In order to warm up, our kitties have been parking themselves in front of the heater vents. Their favorite is the vent in the dining room.

chilly kitties

Saturday, January 13, 2007

MacWorld Milestones

We had a lot of fun at MacWorld yesterday. However, for the first time in recent memory, I didn't buy anything.

I spent part of the time walking around the floor with Omar and Sarah, then after they had to leave, I hooked up with my Mom and Dad. This was my Dad's first MacWorld, and he was quite the trooper! Omar actually commented to me how cool my parents were for attending MacWorld. I told him that my Mom is really into tech-gadgets, and that my Dad was just being a great sport and wanted to see what all the hub-bub was about.

I also told Omar that my super-cool Mom actually took us out of school for the day so we could all attend the first MacWorld in January, 1985. Now, that's a cool Mom! This reminded me a few other MacWorld milestones in my life:

  • MacWorld 1985
    This is when it all began. My parents bought one of the original 128K Macs in 1984 (after much pleading on my part). My Mom took my sister and I out of school for the day so we could attend the convention.

  • MacWorld (NYC) 1998
    The meeting that would go down in history: It's the NYC MacWorld where Dick met Omar for the first time, and offered him an internship (and later a job).

  • MacWorld 1999
    This was the year that Apple released the colored iMacs for the first time. They were also into their very cool "Think Different" campaign. Dick and I had just started to date at the end of December 1998. During the first week of January, he walked into the art gallery where I worked, and invited me to come to the Apple party with him that night. Now, I don't know if all girls would feel this way, but for me, that was one of the coolest dates ever!.

    That same year, I introduced Dick to my sister, Tiffini. He looked at the two of us, and asked, "Which one is which?"

  • MacWorld 2000
    I introduce my Mom to my new friend, Omar, who is working at the Microsoft booth. Omar later tells me that I have a very cool Mom. ;)

  • MacWorld 2004
    After finally upgrading to a new PowerBook, and having just received a iPod for Xmas, I was, for once, not completely out-of-date with all of the Mac Products. I bought a lot of goodies this year, including my favorite "Mac Chic" t-shirt.

  • MacWorld 2007
    Yesterday was my Dad's first time to MacWorld, and also Omar's baby's first! (she's only 8 weeks old!) It as a whole different experience this year, but I really enjoyed it.

It's really pretty amazing to think about how much MacWorld has changed over the years. Back in the day, it really was "Mac World" - all things Macintosh. Software, hardware, new color monitors (I remember how very cool that was), and the place you went to find good deals on all of these. These days, it's just a little bit "Mac Oriented" with a whole lot more gear oriented towards the iPod, and consumer electronics, in general. My Dad and I were walking around the floor, and every third booth or so, we'd joke, "Look! iPod skins! What a novel idea!" (seriously, every third booth or so was some sort of iPod cover/skin)

Omar had a nice write-up of some of the new goodies that we looked at.

As for me, although I didn't buy anything, I did come home with a couple of fun freebies: A Case-Mate iPod Shuffle case (which has inspired me to buy a new Shuffle) and a very funny little plush dog from Fetch (still my FTP program of choice).

Baby's first MacWorld

Friday, January 12, 2007

Greetings from MacWorld!

At this moment, I am sitting at the Microsoft Blogger Lounge, typing in a blog. It seemed appropo, so I figured, why not?!

Having a good time so far. I just spent the last two hours wandering around the floor with Omar and Sarah Shahine. Sarah was quite the hit, as we think she was perhaps the youngest MacWorld Attendee this year :)

Today is the last day of MacWorld (in fact, we're into the last hour and a half now) so it seems to be quieter here than usual (which is kind of nice). I haven't bought anything yet, but I have been inspired to buy a new iPod Shuffle soon. :)

signing off from MacWorld.

MacWorld Bound

I'm heading out for my annual MacWorld Trek today. This year, I'll be attending with my Mom, my Dad (his first time!) The Oracle and Baby Oracle (her first time as well! ;) ).

Should be a fun day. I'm planning on buying a new MacBook Pro soon, so it'll be good to get more info on that, software, etc.,

I'm curious to see the iPhone, although I'm not sure if they'll actually have any on display since they won't be available until June. I'm not convinced that they will live up to the hype once they do come out. Omar (he who we call "The Oracle") has some interesting thoughts on that here.

I never quite know what I'll be picking up at MacWorld from year to year. One year, it was my "Mac Chic" t-shirt, another year I left with 2 (count 'em) laptop bags (both of which I still love!).

Should be a fun day. I'll be back with the report later!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Soup a Week

Dick and I both really enjoy soup - It's yummy, and usually very easy to make.

Last week, we decided to plan to make a soup a week. This isn't too far of a stretch, as we probably usually have soup at least twice a month. We're also planning to experiment with some new recipes. Our usual soup repertoire has about 4 different types so far: Split Pea, Chinese Noodle, Cabbage, Sausage & Potato and Butternut Squash. Last week, we made a really great Potato & Leek Soup, and last night I made a yummy Lentil soup with Tomato and Spinach.

If any of you have any great soup recipes that you'd like to share, please send me an email. Oh, by the way, Dick doesn't like anything with Cheese or Cream, so I try to stay away from any recipe with those ingredients.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

MINI Billboard Tester

I just got an email from MINI USA inviting me (and my MINI) to be a tester for their new "talking billboard" campaign.

MINI is testing out these new billboards. There are only 4 of them: one each in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Miami.

MINI USA is going to send me a key fob that I'll attach to my key chain. Then, whenever I drive past the billboard (which is located on I-80 at 4th Street, East Bound - right before the Bay Bridge) the billboard will flash a personalized message to me and my MINI!

Cool, huh?

It'll probably say something like, "Looking good, MINI Driver!" (My MINI's name)

That'll be cool. My MINI has been feeling a little neglected lately. This should perk her up!

I'm hoping it doesn't flash a message saying, "MINI Driver - you really need a bath!"

Anyhow, I've enrolled in the tester program, and I'm supposed to have the key fob sent to me within the next 2-3 weeks. :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Good Kitties!

It's practically a Christmas Miracle!

After several years of having problems with our kitties peeing underneath the Christmas Tree, I'm happy to announce that we've officially had our first pee-free Christmas!

We just finished putting away the Artificial Christmas Tree and all of our decorations. I'm so proud my kitties! We didn't have a single "situation" this year!

Last year, we bought our first artificial tree, assuming that our kitties were being territorial because of the "outside smells" that the fresh trees brought with them. That didn't work.

The year before, we thought we were safe because we assumed that Claude had been the one who started all the problems, and he wouldn't be visiting. That didn't work either.

I think we finally came to an understanding:

This year, I continued to place a plastic liner underneath the tree (in case we had a mishap), but I decided not to put the white sheets underneath the tree until we had all of the gifts underneath. It occurred to me that in years past, we only had problems with the kitties when there weren't any gifts under the tree yet (before or after Xmas). Dick and I also realized that our kitties have a history of peeing on any type of cloth (towels, laundry, etc.,) that's been left on the floor. For some reason, they think material left on the ground needs to be marked.

So, I didn't put the sheet under the tree until it was filled with gifts, and I took the sheet out from under the tree immediately after the gifts were opened.

That seemed to have done the job! It wasn't terribly pretty (plastic sheet under the tree..) but at least we didn't have a Xmas-Tree-Peeing blog post this Christmas! (My kitties were relieved!) I'm so glad we've finally come to an understanding.

Happy Christmas Tree

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My friend, Pete - The 2-Time Academy Award Winner!

Pete and his business partner, Pierre, have won an Academy Award for software that they have designed and developed for their company, Re: Vision FX!

Pete & Pierre won an Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical achievements for 2006.

Here's the blurb from the press release:

To Peter Litwinowicz and Pierre Jasmin for the design and development of the RE: Vision Effects family of software tools for optical flow-based image manipulation.

A unique user interface and relatively low cost have made these tools ubiquitous in the visual effects community.

You can read the full press release here.

And yes, you did read the title right: this is Pete & Pierre's second Academy Award. The first was for their work on the movie What Dreams May Come. Pete & Pierre wrote the software that created the effects in "the painted world". They did not receive an actual award that time because they were a part of the team that created the movie. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. You can read that press release here.

Congratulations to Pete and Pierre on this impressive achievement!


Both Kimi and Ayumi have recently posted about the importance of the dream that one has on the night of New Year's Eve. According to Japanese tradition, the dream that you have on this night will provide insight into the year ahead.

That sounds like a great tradition, but what happens when you remember your dream, and it was a nightmare?

A few people know that I tend to have wildly scary and violent dreams. I joke that it is my subconscious' way of somehow providing balance with the fairly low-stress life that I lead.

Anyhow, I woke up in the middle of the night on New Year's Eve from a nightmare that I remember vividly: I was at a museum with a few other people. At some point, we went to have a snack at the cafeteria. I was the last one to finish (I'm almost always the slowest eater) and just as we were getting ready to leave, some men came up to us wielding handguns. They didn't cause a commotion, as their guns were hidden, and no one else in the building could see what was happening. They quietly escorted us out of the building, holding the guns at our backs. I remember being terrified of what would happen next...

...that's when I woke up.

I always wake up from my nightmares being very thankful that they weren't real.

Anyhow, the next morning, I woke up, read about this Japanese Tradition about interpreting New Year's Eve dreams, and I got a bit shaken up. I hope that my nightmare doesn't have any connection with what will happen to me in this new year.

On a lighter note, last night I had that dream.

You know the one: you're in school. It's the end of the year. You're about to graduate. All you have to do is take your finals.

That's when you realize that you (for some unknown reason) haven't attended one class all semester. Suddenly, you have to take the final for this class, and not only do you have to pass, but you have to ace it to make up for the fact that you never attended class before, and therefore must have a really low grade. And if you don't pass the class, you won't graduate!

I have this dream on a fairly regular basis. Don't know where that comes from :)

Pete and Richard gave me a "Dream Journal and Interpretation Book" for Christmas. Perhaps I should crack it open, and see what this all means....

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

5 more things you may not know about me... if the first five weren't enough....

After a few fun discussions with friends and family over the past couple of weeks, I've realized I have a few more interesting tidbits that you may not know about me...
  1. I've never had a cup of coffee
    This seems to be the whopper of them all. Many were stunned.
    Nope. I've never had a cup of coffee. Never had the desire to try.

  2. I've never inhaled
    ...and that's the truth. Never a cigarette. Never tried pot. No drugs.
    Not that there weren't plenty of opportunities to try. I just never felt the need to.

  3. (feeling a bit square right now...)

  4. I have 8 piercings
    This is as crazy as I get: I have 3 piercings on each of my earlobes. I also have one on the top of my right ear. But, my favorite is my navel piercing.

  5. (feeling a little less square...)

  6. I've never colored my hair
    Now, this one I've been tempted to try, but never have done. I always thought it would be fun to go blue....
    I also haven't ever highlighted or lightened my hair.
    I have had some crazy perms, though!

  7. Pet Rats
    I've had many. Between the ages of 13 and 28, I had 5 (one at a time): Misha, Jussie, Arnie, Dot and Java. When I was in 2nd grade, we had a family pet rat named Corkie.

Trina with Misha (who is wearing his turtleneck sweater/tube sock!)

Alright, that's all for now.
No tagging this time :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dick: The Mighty

I took this picture of Dick this weekend.
It makes me smile. :)

Tammy's Visit

Tammy and the Golden Gate Bridge

My dear friend, Tammy, came out last week on vacation to spend New Year's Eve with us.

We had a pretty amazing time: High Tea at Love Joys, an urban walk around Noe Valley and Eureka Valley, dinner with my parents at the House of Prime Rib, a day trip to Napa Valley, our New Year's Eve gathering which included a wine and cheese tasting, and a sunset visit to The Cliff House for Bloody Marys.

Bloody Mary Girls

It was pretty spectacular.

Tammy and I realized on the evening of New Year's Eve that we had met at a New Year's Eve party in Dayton, OH way back in 1988. That's when we figured out that we were together to celebrate the 18-year anniversary of our friendship! Pretty amazing! On a side note, I realized that that means that I've known Tammy for half my life now! Wow! How time flies!

I was so grateful and happy to have Tammy out here visiting. We had a wonderful time hanging out, catching up and enjoying San Francisco together! I'm looking forward to visiting her out in Chicagoland in the Springtime.

So long, SBC.... Hello Comcast!

We made the switch.

After months of considering switching from our SBC phone service to Vonage, we got an offer we couldn't refuse from Comcast, and made the switch!

We had a flat-rate plan on SBC that included unlimited long-distance, call waiting, caller-ID and the message center for $49.95. After all was said and done with taxes, it was around $65/month.

We knew there were cheaper alternatives out there....

We considered switching to Vonage (cue Christopher, singing the Vonage jingle) but never made the call.

Last week, Dick placed a call to Comcast to inquire about his extra sports package, and heard about Comcast's new Digital Voice service.

Comcast now offers all of the same features that we had with SBC, for a lower price, PLUS we get to keep our phone number. Even better, we signed up for a special that offered one year of the phone service for free.

Extra bonus: our high speed internet connection is now even FASTER!

We had the new equipment installed last Friday, and it all seems to work quite well. I even get a cool new feature where I can check my messages online, and have phone message notifications emailed to me. (this will come in handy when I'm working away from my office)