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One Truth For All

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October 31, 2004

Now It Gets Hard

I went back to Alameda this weekend, and I felt completely removed from everybody I saw. It's as if the travel puts a layer of emotional distance between me and people who live there.

I first noticed it on Saturday afternoon when I hung out with Elaine for a bit while she plied me with garden goodies, when I was having a hard time feeling entirely there, although that might have been because I'd just gone to IKEA to buy a dining table (now assembled and functioning perfectly).

Then we had dinner that evening with dear friends Christo and George, who made us lentil soup and fed us strawberry rhubarb pie, and they told me they've given me a subscription to The New Yorker, which is a totally amazing gift, and which will remind me of them every time I get it, and which might even make me wish I'd gone to Columbia (but not much as the homesickness would be much worse there), and I had a hard time coming up with the right words to say thanks to them.

Then this afternoon we were talking to some neighbors about a neighborhood issue (a renter down the block who's dealing crack) and I had a hard time forming words. What is it about a four hour drive that steals your ability to communicate? Or maybe it's being away from Ana for longer than I've ever been away from her since 1992. I don't know what I'll do when she dies. Maybe have to find a new familiar.

Anyway, Noel and I sat down and worked out visitation for the next several weeks, until the end of the quarter, and fortunately, I don't have to drive up as often as I was expecting because Noel has declined some gigs in order to make things easier on me. Also, I think Rosie is going to stay with me the short week before Thanksgiving and we can totally go to the dog beach all the time and play nonstop without that spoilsport Noel around to mess things up. I mean, apart from my having to spend every waking moment at school and all.

When I get home for Christmas, we sit down and re-assess. Is this living arrangement working for both of us? If not, what should we do about it? The worst part is that I'm really loving school. I mean, really, really loving it. So if the living arrangement is not working, the decision that probably needs to be made is hard.

# Posted by ayse on 10/31/04 at 11:02 PM

October 28, 2004

Farmer's Market

... Without all the pesky farmers, and what the heck, without the market part, too.

On Thursday nights, there's a farmer's market in San Luis Obispo. This is actually referred to as "world famous," even though in ten years as a foodie in the Bay Area I never heard about it. The thing about this market is that it's more of a street fair than a real farmer's market: half the stalls are political, a third are restaurants selling prepared food, and a very small number actually sell produce. What produce they do sell is mostly apples (well, it is the season) with the occasional avocado or persimmon.

This evening I went down there determined to find something green to cook next week. I saw a stand of avocados, and was encouraged by their good looks, so I attempted to buy one.

"Can I give you a dollar for this?" (The sign said "Hass: $1 each" -- I wasn't bargaining or anything.)

"In fifteen minutes."

"No, seriously, can't I just pay for it now?"

"No, we don't start selling for fifteen minutes."

"I'm not going to be here then."

"We don't start selling for fifteen minutes."

So he missed out on one sale, and any possible future sales from me. I don't get why he was so busy that he could not sell me a single avocado for a single dollar for which I did not need change. It's a market, right? Every time that sort of thing happens -- when a small-time merchant refuses to take my money except on their own terms and at their own convenience -- I grow less and less concerned about the plight of the small-farm operation. Obviously, if things are so good that they can turn away business, then they don't need any farm subsidies, or special zoning protection.

Anyway, another loser market day for me. There's another market on Saturday mornings which is more likely to have real farmers and real market behaviour, but I'm going to be out of town the next couple Saturdays. Maybe I should just go to Berkeley's farmer's market. I may have to deal with Berkeley people to do it, but at least the produce is worthwhile.

# Posted by ayse on 10/28/04 at 7:52 PM

I'm Surprised Nobody Has Suggested Yet

That what broke The Curse was Massachusetts taking a sudden, jerking step towards brotherly love and Christian tolerance by allowing gay marriage. Clearly, God was happy that we had one decent moment as a people, and gave us A Sign.

I mean, does anybody honestly think that Jesus would damn somebody for loving? And if so, have they read their Bible lately? Maybe it's living here in the Bible Belt of California that's getting to me, but I find these perverters of Christianity sickening. Anti-love, pro-killing. How on earth can somebody live like that and call himself a Christian?

# Posted by ayse on 10/28/04 at 1:57 PM

October 27, 2004


We did more watercolours and drawing in studio today, which was stressful and painful because I was feeling kind of out of it and had to work hard to stay upright on the stool. I had almost skipped out of school altogether after physics, where I was so out of it that I almost passed out.

I came home and had some dinner, but I can't say as how that helped much. I must be anaemic right now, or I'm coming down with the evil cold everybody else has had, but I won't allow that to happen. Iron pills are easy enough to come by. A week of rest is not.

Anyway, I won't torture you all with the hideous paintings I did in class today. They were horrible. My trees kept coming out like evil bright green blobs of ugliness. Maybe that wooziness was getting to me.

I came home as soon as we finished up and have been doing engineering homework since then. I've plowed through most of it, only to get stumped by one 3D strut problem that seems to have one too many unknowns. I know I'm missing some hint in the question, so I figured I'd check the Sox's score (there IS a God!) and browse the web a bit, only I managed to kink my back up so badly in studio that it hurts to surf the web. Dammit.

# Posted by ayse on 10/27/04 at 9:23 PM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2004

Where's My Hard Hat?

As of this afternoon, I'm officially a Construction Management minor, as well as an ARCH major. This involved more running around than I care to go into, but when I did eventually get the right paperwork to the right person, it was a matter of a frank discussion about getting into classes (hard; CM is an impacted program; there are techniques for getting into classes, but it needs persistence) and timing for the nine required classes, then a signature filed in the office.

Construction Management is managing the construction phase of a project, making a budget, bidding it, setting up a timeline, making sure everybody shows up when they're supposed to and does what the plans say. It's what contractors do. It's what architects SHOULD do, but chose not to in favour of being artists, heaven knows why. Here's the result: Construction Management majors get recruited out of college with lots of bribery and competition over them for the many open positions. Architecture majors have to fight 200 other applicants tooth and claw for one low-paying design job that they hunted for a year to find. I'd do a double major but I can't quite swing that and the Master's program in the fourth and fifth years.

# Posted by ayse on 10/26/04 at 7:09 PM

October 25, 2004

Barren Wasteland

Today in studio we did a series of exercises in landscape drawing. We used watercolours and these soluble graphite pencils. So now I'm very good at drawing desert landscapes, which might be useful if I ever had to work as a renderer in Arizona. I can't even tell you how unlikely it is that I will move somewhere hot and dry, where the politics is conservative and the cheese is unnaturally orange, and do a job that involves drawing all day.

Anyway, I thought I'd show you some of those drawings, on account of how you're a captive audience and all. I will leave out the wash exercises, because frankly they were pretty boring, being mostly designed to explain wash techniques to a bunch of students who mostly had never done any before.

Here's the first little landscape we did, based on a line created by squeezing the pencil very tightly and trying to draw a straight line.

first landscape

Then we did a series of landscapes from relatively flat to steeply sloped:

landscape series

Then we spent two tedious hours on shrubbery and trees. I realize there's a value in this, but I find it excruciating;

tree and bush

# Posted by ayse on 10/25/04 at 8:42 PM | Comments (2)

Sleep is Good

I took a nap this afternoon, which has kind of derailed my normal sleeping schedule (usually, I try to be getting into bed at least by 10:30), but it felt really good. I lost a lot of sleep over the last couple of weeks due to the stress of the previous household coming all to pieces and then moving suddenly. So I figured now was a good time to talk about it.

This is a bit long, so I put it behind a cut.

The short story is, my landlady went all crazy on me.

She was always kind of weird, and a very loud and disruptive person (the TV was on if she was awake, often in two rooms at once). She had all kinds of strange behaviour (she would turn off my bedroom light if I left it on while I made dinner), and odd beliefs (she thought there was dirt in the dryer).

Then she came into my room one evening and told me I had an attitude problem and was being passive aggressive. Why? Because one evening when I was in a hurry to leave the house for a meeting at school, she gave me an order and I said OK and left the house without HOPPING TO IT. Because, duh, I was in a hurry, and the order was not something that was going to hurt anybody (she asked me to wipe up some "dirt" -- dryer lint -- that was on the top of the dryer).

When I told her that taking care of her needs would never come before my school work, she got very upset with me and told me I had a bad attitude and that she was the landlord and I needed to acquiesce to her demands. (I later found out that she didn't know what "acquiesce" actually meant, but that's another thing.)

Keep the following things in mind:

- Every morning, I got up early and did all the dishes in the kitchen, and put any dishes in the dish rack away, whether they were mine or not. I did this without complaining or making a big fuss, because I thought it would be nice for the household.

- Even though it meant that I sometimes ate cold food, I always cleaned the kitchen and washed used pots and pans before eating, because I knew she had a thing about a messy kitchen. I did this to be considerate of her.

- I was allowed to use only the back of a small portion of a refrigerator shelf, because she needed to use the rest, and I never complained to her about that. I did this to be considerate of her as well.

- She was storing a large box, a piece of a bed frame, a 1970's vintage TV, and a large rocking chair in my room, which I allowed her to do to be nice.

Nothing I said made any difference to her. She was also worked up about my once (ONCE) pushing the blinds aside with my hand as I came in, trying to find the little stick that she insisted I use to open them lest they fall instantly to pieces. I told her that if I'd caused damage to the blinds, I would repair or replace them, and she said they were special blinds (which they were not, but whatever) that might not be available any more, and I said I would pay to have replacements custom made. Then she got angry with me for offering to make good on this alleged damage. Why? Because absolutely no damage happened, and she knew it. She just wanted me to submit to her. It was all about power.

Finally she left, and I could go back to homework, only she got me so worked up and frustrated that I couldn't get much more done. Nice. I also had trouble falling asleep, and that was the beginning of the badness.

When I went home that weekend, I hugged our roommate John and thanked him for being such a good person and such a wonderful roommate.

A week later she came and wanted to talk to me again. I told her I was busy and I would talk to her in a couple of hours, at which point she got offended and huffed off. I was able to get some homework done in that time, but not much, because I was so upset that she was going to go through the harassment thing again.

She told me she wanted me to move out. I told her I had a 12-month lease. She said she was invoking the "disturbing behaviour" clause. I asked her what I did that was so disturbing. She said that Noel washing the dishes bothered her -- no that he did it, but the way he did it, which was apparently passive aggressive.

Eventually, after she repeatedly accused me of being hostile, passive aggressive, and disturbing because I spent my spare time in my room doing homework, we agreed that I would move out in 30 days. She said she would write up something that released me from the lease, and I was fine with that.

That evening, I did laundry, and since she was watching TV at the time (what a surprise) asked her if the noise would bother her. I know, it sounds like a random moment, but it will feature in the events to follow.

The next evening, I got home from a long day of school and apartment hunting, and all the lights were on and she was running around cleaning and smiling, like I had never seen her. She met me at the door and smiled. "What would you say if I said to forget everything I said yesterday?"


"I've been thinking about our talk all day and I just feel so much better about US."

Frankly, I was scared. I've seen some people have psychotic breaks and she was acting just like that. One minute I'm hostile and passive aggressive, the next minute I'm her best friend? The way she talked, it was as if she and I had a romantic relationship rather than that of landlord and tenant as she insisted only the previous day. I don't think so. I said very little and went to my room and had a minor freakout. I got no homework done at all that day, which totally sucked.

In the morning, she got up when I did (which she never did before) and turned the TV on and wanted to talk to me. I was unhappy about losing my only quiet moments at home, and left early for school. I spent the afternoon looking at apartments. When I got home, I only had a short time before I had to go back to school to work on a project (I was way behind on studio work because I'd not been sleeping well and wasn't able to work as fast as I usually do). She stopped me in the living room and demanded to know whether I'd made up my mind about staying. I said I was going to move out as we discussed, because frankly I did not trust her not to change her mind again.

She told me that she was going to hold me to the initial lease despite her promises to dissolve it, and said she promised not to change her mind again (warning! danger sign!) and said she felt everything was resolved. I told her I did believe her, and I had no way of understanding what had made her change her mind, and that I did not intend to change my behaviour one bit, so I figured we'd end up back in the same argument again.

She told me that when I asked her if I would disturb her by doing laundry, it was the first considerate thing I ever did for her. Washing the dishes didn't count, see. Nor did keeping the kitchen as clean as she wanted, or dealing with the blinds the way she wanted, or storing her crap in my room, or anything I did to be considerate of her. So I told her that if she felt that my previous actions had been so inconsiderate, I would stop doing them, because clearly the only thing that mattered was asking about doing laundry. She told me that was childish, and I told her I didn't care, because seeming like an adult to her was completely unimportant to me.

When I came home later that evening, she said, in a pleading little girl voice, "What you said earlier about not being nice to me -- you didn't mean that, did you?" I glared at her and walked away. I was done with pandering to her petty little needs.

The next day when I came home from school, I gave her the finger when she got all in my face about something, probably the stupid blinds. God, that felt good. I don't think I'd ever let her know how little I respected her, and she was shocked.

When I got to my room, I found that she had put put several notices on it. One of them was a letter telling me that Noel was no longer allowed to visit me in that house, and accusing me of causing her to break glasses in the kitchen. I'd never seen a broken glass in the house, but whatever. I went out and told her she could not ban my husband from visiting me in my home without good reason, and she said that the rental agreement gave her that right (it did not; the only thing remotely close to that was the statement that only one person could live in the room). I attempted to explain the concept of inalienable rights, but she didn't understand. She insisted that when I first talked to her about the room, I said I would spend most weekends in Alameda, and she didn't like Noel and didn't want him in the house. I told her she was out of luck, because Noel was coming down that weekend and she was going to have to deal with it. I went back to my room and called Noel to tell him about this. He was already driving down, and we'd already booked a motel room to get away from the house, but we were unsure about what we should do.

(The other piece of paper was a notice that she would need to enter my room that weekend. When I asked her why, she very defensively said, "None of your business!" She got very angry when I said that it was indeed my business to know why she wanted to go in my room. She refused to tell me.)

She came to my room and said she would let Noel visit me if I compromised. I told her, again, that having Noel visit me in my home was my right, and not one she could remove for no reason, so I didn't have to compromise with her in order to have him visit. She suggested we start writing up a dissolution of the rental agreement, and I spat something out quickly and gave it to her. We went back and forth for a few edits on it, before Noel arrived and he and I left for the evening.

The next morning, I signed the lease on a new apartment. I got the key in the afternoon, and we were ready. We went back to the house and I packed a bunch of stuff up and put it in the closet so she could not see that U was ready to move out. I packed up my toothbrush, which I later discovered she had soaped while we were out. I wonder what else she would have done if I had stayed.

It took us hours to work out a dissolution agreement. She wanted a lease without any obligation on her part to provide me with a home. I wanted to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible and with a reasonable obligation. Finally we had something that was acceptable to me. She had chosen wording that said what I wanted it to say, although I know it did not say what she wanted it to say and I chose not to tell her that. As soon as the agreement was signed, I gave it to Noel for safekeeping, and we began moving me out.

She had been in her room watching TV, and at one point she came out and saw us moving things and wanted to know what was going on. "I'm moving out." "Now?" "Yes." "You don't need to move out now." "Yes, I do." She rolled her eyes and huffed off to her room.

It started raining, but we got everything moved out. On the final load, I packed up some things from the fridge and she came out to demand to know where I was going. I did not tell her, because I knew she was unpredictable and I did not want her at my new home. She got angry with me and insisted I had told her I would not be paying the full rent due in November, even though I gave her a written notice saying I would pay what was due her. She also accused me of rolling furniture over the floor, which I had not done.

I left, then realized I had forgotten some things and went back to get them. She had bolted the door so I could not get in. She stood there and taunted me by saying I could not come in unless I promised to pay rent for November. What the fuck? I had already given her a written promise to pay rent. This woman wanted me to submit to her as a superior. I am not a submissive person.

So I went back to the new house, and called the police. When I got hold of them, they said they had just talked to her and the door was unlocked. She had also turned the lights out to make it inconvenient for me. I went back, got my things, and left. I left the lights on because I know that drives her crazy.

It was so nice to sleep in my own home without fear.

I didn't have to see her again for a week, but she sent me some psychotic e-mails. Here's one quote:

5.   If you choose to NOT honor your latest rental agreement, that TWO people signed and TWO people have to AGREE to terminate, I have been told that the original rental agreement goes back into effect and you will be facing legal action, in addition to costs of repairs or replacement of property you damaged here at [address], that you so adamantly stated you would rather do than take proper care of; and to which I have a witness.

Yeah, her ability to form sentences is kinda limited.

Or this:

2.  And as far as my changing my mind about you staying here, it was not only in YOUR favor that I was willing to give YOUR erratic behavior and lack of communication another chance but I was also trying to spare BOTH of us the headache of the moving process, especially when you stated just the night before that you had exams coming up and did not have the time to do so. And, my change of mind, as I told you before, was largely due to your FIRST respectful comment to me regarding whether or not I would mind you doing laundry when you wanted to. I was both shocked and pleased that you finally demonstrated some politeness and consideration. THAT was what changed my mind and gave me some hope that perhaps we could work this out after all. But when I told you this you balked and acted like you would rather move than work it out; and again said you did not understand my change of mind even though I tried to reiterate it several times. You just seemed unable to rationalize my reason for changing my mind and your distrustfulness took over again.

(Um, no duh I could not rationalize your changing your mind, you psycho freak. And yes, I distrust somebody whose moods swing so wide and who tries to strongarm her way through everything by insisting that a landlord has the right to make all the rules in a household, no matter how unreasonable.)

One of her "things" is that she's a counsellor -- which must mean jack shit if people like her can do it -- and so she was constantly insisting she must be right because of course she's a professional. For example:

Being a counselor I deal with people who demonstrate what you have ALL  the time. In fact I specialize in it. YOU were the one who was feeling out of control and those behaviors demonstrate that better than anything I could EVER say.

That would be flipping her off when she got in my face. Funny how she didn't mention her own application of SOAP to my TOOTHBRUSH.

The reason I temporarily locked you out that ONE time (the night you moved) was to call the police myself because people who assume the victim role even when they are not can be dangerous to others. I had no idea what you were capable of in your persecution delusion after your clear demonstration of verbal abuse and defiant MISHANDLING of MY property, i.e. :                                                                            1. Rolling your furniture over my white carpet, that you would also have had to walk on after having been in the rain already, which you've known all along is NOT allowed, and which now needs to be cleaned.                                                                                                                           2. Pushing right through the brand new vertical blinds deliberately and defiantly time after time, after repeatedly being requested, then told that it would damage them, and,                                                                                                                  3. Causing the breakage of glassware in the kitchen by doing exactly what you were told not to do because it could cause that very thing to happen.

See what I mean? This lady is nuts about her rules. (The funky formatting is all hers.)

The best part about her e-mail was the one that she intended to be the most intimidating. I told her she should see a lawyer about her assertion that she could ban Noel from visiting me, and she said it was none of my business what she did. Then she included this:

cc: Real Estate Advisor

I am so frightened.

Noel came back this weekend, and brought cleaning supplies and a video camera with him. On Friday evening, we went to the house. She was there, and demanded to know what I was doing there. I said I was there to clean my room, and she got very demanding with me. I ignored her.

When i got to my room, I discovered that she'd been in there and vacuumed. And stored a bunch of her stuff in there, including hanging clothes in the closet. I removed her stuff and told her it was not welcome in my room, and she got very hostile with me. Then I cleaned the room, the shelves in the kitchen that I had used, and the bathroom.

Then we left the house and had a good night out on the town.

Sunday morning, we went back to see if she had put things back in the room. Keep in mind that I'm supposedly renting the room and a parking space through mid-November. When we got to the house, there was a car in my space. We went into my room and saw that she had been in there again, and had put some of the stuff back. We left.

This evening I wrote a letter demanding the refund of my October rent. Her actions show that she was not acting in good faith and allowing me use of the room and my parking space during the rental period, so why should I have to pay rent for that time? I will end up having to sue her for it, which will suck, but I can't see her winning with the written ban of my husband from the house.

But now I never have to deal with her psychosis again.

# Posted by ayse on 10/25/04 at 1:06 AM

October 20, 2004

Thank You for the Music

(Apologies to anybody who gets this song stuck in their head.)

Calpoly has a bell tower that has Winchester chimes. I grew up in a town with a bell tower, so I'm partial to them. But I don't think Calpoly has concerts on theirs, like Cornell did.

Do you ever think about how the world would be without sound? I mean, sure, if you're Deaf or know somebody is you certainly have some idea what I'm talking about, but those of us with statistically normal hearing probably take it for granted. I know that I think about how beautiful things look all the time, but I rarely pay attention to sounds.

Today I woke up and listened to the rain being blown against the window by my bed. It was a very soothing sound, the way you want it to be in the automatic carwash and it never quite is. I was having a hard time getting up -- I've got a lot of sleep debt to pay back this week -- and I spent quite a bit of time lying there, until i realized I'd better get moving if I was going do get to my midterms on time.

One corner of my apartment can sort of see down onto the street, so I get some street noise -- more than the really noise-sensitive could bear, I suspect, I don't mind it, chiefly because it is a sort of wooshing wave sound. Like being on the beach only without all the wind. In the rain, there's a splashing sound, too.

My favourite time of day is around 7:30, when I arrive in the studio and sit for a while in the silence, listening to the nothing. The studio is in an older building with limited HVAC systems -- no AC at all, in fact, just heating and a fan system. So usually in the morning it's actually completely quiet, with the only sounds being the occasional student crawling into class late (most of our classes start on the hour, so the half hour is a good time to get places without a crowd).

Campus sounds are usually rustly: the sound of papers shuffling, the sound of backpack zippers, the rustle of a raincoat (lots of those lately). Sometimes there's a bird or a rodent scurrying around.

During the day, there's the murmur of talking. At night there will be students running around yelling and making all kinds of noise playing night frisbee or capture the flag or something like that. In the architecture studios, there's the tinny sound of a couple stereos playing quietly, and the scraping sound of knives slicing through museum board or foamcore. We talk in studio, but not a whole lot when we're working. Talking while cutting leads to finger damage, and finger damage is so common that bandages really ought to be on the standard equipment list.

At home the sounds are less human: the hum of the fridge, busily freezing my milk. The bump and hiss of the gas oven. The plop of the drippy faucet in the bathroom. Sometimes I play music in the evening. Mostly I don't. It's a luxury to have silence, after a month in which every waking hour was drenched with the blare of the television and people talking. I don't know how people can live any other way.

# Posted by ayse on 10/20/04 at 6:44 PM

October 19, 2004

Happy Little Clouds

It's pissing down rain today all along the California coast, so I got soaking wet at school, dashing from building to building across campus. But it's warm, so getting wet wasn't all that bad.

Today I'm thankful for the rain, appropriately enough.

When I lived back East, I didn't appreciate rain the way I have grown to here, in the semi-desert. Now when the first rains start (usually in November, but we'll cut them a break because we got an early spring), I think about all the trees around the state sucking up that water gleefully, filling out and becoming moist. I think about dry, fire-prone grasslands completely waterlogged.

I've always liked rain, which is a good thing because I grew up in a place with a lot of it, and it's the primary non-sunny weather here. Rain makes me feel warm and cozy and comfortable when I'm inside, and alive and connected to the earth when I'm outside. I don't care much for whipping winds combined with ice rain, but that's more about the cold than the rain.

I'm thankful for the rain because it brings me excellent produce. Folks, I have moved to the salad basket of America here in the Central Valley. I'm all of 30 miles from Betteravia, which is where the strawberries come from. I drive out of town and I'm surrounded by fields of delicious food, tended by huddled masses of immigrant labour. Oddly, all the Mexican food I've had here really sucks, which makes me believe I'm in a place where we like to deny who's really supporting the local economy.

I'm thankful for the rain because it gives me something to drink. I've been thirstier here in San Luis Obispo than I ever have in my life. Sometimes I grab a glass of water and chug it down without taking a breath, which I never did before. Sometimes I stand in the kitchen and drink three pints of water in a few minutes, because my body is begging for it. I've never been so thirsty. And the water comes down to feed that need.

I'm even more thankful for the rain because it washes my car. I've been driving a lot. Back and forth to school (not too far) and then to the Bay Area and back, and this weekend I drove all over the place with the moving. Before yesterday, my car was filthy, despite Saturday's rainfall. Now it's only slightly dirty. With no effort on my part. That is how I like car washing to go.

Happy rainy season!

# Posted by ayse on 10/19/04 at 5:00 PM

October 18, 2004

Images from The Weekend

So here's my new apartment in San Luis Obispo. It's quite nice inside, largish for a studio, with a full bathroom and a decent kitchen. I have a dinky little under-counter fridge, but that will just make me eat better, because I can't buy frozen food.


We had breakfast at IHOP on Saturday, while I was reading my new lease over before signing it and faxing it over. When we came out, Rosie was sitting in the driver's seat. That's her thing.

rosie in the car

Somewhat out of order, this is the model I worked on on Friday night while Noel sat on a conference call for a network outage at work. We went to my studio at school to do that, because there's good network coverage there and there would be something for me to do, too. Just about when Noel finished his call, I finished my model (apart from the painting, which I did Monday morning). Good timing.

latest model

# Posted by ayse on 10/18/04 at 10:00 PM

Giving Thanks

I was going to write a gripey, amusing little post today about the speed limits in San Luis Obispo, but I realized that what I want to write about, really, is everything I have to be thankful for. This is my week for giving thanks, after all the horrors of last week, which I will write about later.

This evening I went and bought a bunch of chocolate and some sherry that turns out to absolutely flavourless, and as I was walking out of Trader Joe's, I felt warm and happy at the thought of going home to my new apartment, which I have all by myself with no weird rules about the blinds and no film of grunge all over the kitchen. It started out miserable today, but the weather turned nice and sunny and warm, and it's a lovely evening.

I love having Trader Joe's nearby. Not that we don't have one even closer to us in Alameda, but the fact is that supermarkets cannot compete with TJ's on frozen food, especially prepared foods like their frozen lasagne, which comes in a pan that can be put in the oven -- critical for people like me who don't have anything in the kitchen yet except for a package of foil pie pans. Noel will be bringing me kitchen stuff next weekend, but until then I've bought some delicious prepared foods, not too much because they need to fit in the miniscule freezer, but enough for the week.

And flavourless sherry. Did I mention the sherry? I love being able to sit down in my living room while supper heats up in the oven, and drink flavourless sherry out of a disposable cup WHILE WEARING SHOES. I've been wearing shoes a lot the last few days, too. I like shoes.

Also, I peed with the bathroom door open this evening, just because I could. Heck, I can't even do that in Alameda, not unless I want to give John a shock.

I came home and it was quiet and warm, and I put my name on the mailbox. I ordered phone service and DSL today, too, which should start tomorrow and next Tuesday, respectively. Of course, it would help if I had a phone to plug into that service, wouldn't it? But not having stuff to fill my apartment, tools to make things more convenient, that doesn't matter, because I'm so happy to be where I am right now.

So the first thing I am thankful for in this week of thanks is personal freedom. More tomorrow.

# Posted by ayse on 10/18/04 at 6:42 PM

October 16, 2004

Moving, Again

If you have my address in San Luis Obispo, don't send me anything there. I'm moving this weekend. Mail me for the new address.

# Posted by ayse on 10/16/04 at 7:45 PM

October 13, 2004

The Importance of Gauge

I confess that I have always played fast and loose with gauge in knitting, and I now admit that if I am to crochet lace, I have to stop that misbehaviour.

Here's what I've been working on lately:

misbehaving with thead

They look kinda funny, don't they? That's because I've been using the thread I bought, plus a crochet hook I had, rather than following the directions. I guess that's not such a great idea. I mean, the one on the left was supposed to be able to fit twelve of those leaf thingies, and I barely squeezed in eight.

Actually, the one on the right appears to be mostly fine; I kinda psyched myself out reading the pattern, which was written in French, and tore half the thing out then started to work on it again before getting frustrated with trying to translate and decode at the same time, plus there's all this garbage about what a single crochet or double crochet actually is, which is crazy.

Anyway, I'm going to get the proper hook and thread and try that first one again. If I were feeling really energetic, I would just get a bunch of new hooks and see how it came out, but I've got to build a model by Friday afternoon, so it's not going to happen.

# Posted by ayse on 10/13/04 at 9:29 PM

October 12, 2004

The Times Grows a Spine

I'm trying very hard not to get all irrational and political here, mainly because I find preachy blogs boring, but dudes, you have got to check out this op-ed in the New York Times:

Mr. Bush's statements, on the other hand, are fundamentally dishonest. He is insisting that black is white, and that failure is success. Journalists who play it safe by spending equal time exposing his lies and parsing Mr. Kerry's choice of words are betraying their readers.

This is so much more refreshing than their lapdog routine of the last four years. I guess that Jayson Blair thing combined with the massive idiocy of believing Chalabi was a credible source has caused some changes over there, and not a moment too soon.

# Posted by ayse on 10/12/04 at 6:37 PM

October 9, 2004

Deconstruct This

Jacques Derrida just died at 74. I didn't realize he was so young when I had to suffer through studying his work. But even for all the pain and irritation he gave me, I would not have wished pancreatic cancer on him.

Chronic irritable bowel syndrome, on the other hand: that I wished on him.

# Posted by ayse on 10/09/04 at 9:54 AM

October 6, 2004

Buying Things and Making Things

I just bought a new backpack. I know that doesn't sound very exciting, but believe me, when you compare it to doing force calculations, it kinda grows on you.

Also, I've been making some stuff this quarter, and if you follow this link, you can see some of my schoolwork.

Yesterday I went and bought a new backpack. I was expecting to have to spend a lot of money, like maybe $100, and frankly I was not enthused by that idea, because I've got model-making supplies to buy, too. My old backpack cost $10 several years ago in Oregon, when I needed another bag to carry some books I'd bought at Powell's. Tough competition on the cost front, and the old pack was serviceable, if not quite large enough for all the crud I haul around campus at school. Noel offered me a backpack he has, but it was too long in the torso and it hurt my back to carry it.

So I drove 25 miles to Target (yes, that is right; the nearest Target is 25 miles away) and of the five backpacks in the display that could hold all my stuff (no Hello Kitty or Sponge Bob packs for me, alas), there was one that had just enough pockets and more room inside than the others, and it seemed to fit nicely, so I bought it. $25. I was quite pleased.

Not only that, but it carries like a dream. It brings the load nicely in to the back, so there's not a huge torque being applied (um, sorry, lots of structural engineering work here, lately), and the straps are comfortable and well-balanced. There's even a pocket that fits the iPod perfectly. I could not be happier with it.

I was recently asked what I've been making at school, but the truth is that I haven't been making a lot. Mostly I've been studying and doing a lot of vector math. Nonetheless, I present to you some of the fruits of the last three weeks:

For my structural engineering class, my lab partner and I made this lovely penny mobile, and then calculated the forces in every string:

penny mobile

We also made these force models, stabilizing rods and planes in space, sometimes with far more support than was strictly necessary:

force models

In studio, I copied these trees from a drawing in a book:

tree drawings

And finally, the biggest thing I've made this quarter is a gigantic mess of my workspace in studio:

studio space

# Posted by ayse on 10/06/04 at 12:39 PM

October 5, 2004

Encore, avec Crochet!

Here's where I've gotten on the lace doily I've been practising with. It's not exactly what the pattern said to do, but what the pattern said to do made no sense, so I made some of it up. Well, it looks like the picture in the book.

Red lace dily crochet

I actually haven't done much on it in days, because I can't figure out how to crochet while driving, drawing, or doing three dimensional force calculations on beams. Same thing with playing the mandolin, which I also find frustrating and enjoyable in the same way.

Changing to crochet thread helped a lot, which has led me to toss out the ball of Lion Microspun, as delightful as it is for a synthetic. I didn't get enough to knit anything with it, and I'm clearly never going to be able to crochet with it worth a damn.

I've been considering buying a pattern book, actually, which is a step in the mainstream direction for me. The things in it are very simple, but they use some of the funky new yarns in interesting ways, including one shawl that I've been puzzling over. It's clearly a very simple design, but three yarns are twisted together and apart to make a texture that is amazing in the photograph. That's the sort of thing I can see needing a pattern to do. I also saw some books with charts of various crochet (and knit) stitches, and thought those looked interesting, but I'm trying not to spend huge amounts of money right now as I just spent something like $1,000 on textbooks and supplies. No kidding. Anyway.

# Posted by ayse on 10/05/04 at 8:37 PM

October 4, 2004

More on School

I've had a lot of homework (but not, oddly, very hard homework, with the exception of that engineering problem which turned out to be quite easy once we knew the trick), but this evening I was sitting on my bed doing some of it and getting ready to go out again for the Habitat for Humanity meeting, when my bad sleeping schedule for this week caught up with me abruptly, and I basically keeled over.

I slept for two hours, and woke up feeling predictably groggy and out of it, some of which has been healed by having some dinner (I missed breakfast this morning because I had a hard time getting up and was running late). Unfortunately, I missed the meeting, though of course I can just drop them e-mail and ask if when the next one is and when work days are. I figure all the knowledge of drywall and so forth that I've gotten over the last couple years should come in pretty handy, and maybe I can learn some other skills, too. On somebody else's house.

We did lettering today in studio, and then several Golden Mean exercises (yawn). Next time, we're going to work on model-building skills and go over the process of bubble diagramming. We did have one interesting discussion today, when the kids were giving the teacher shit about the lettering and drawing exercises (and when it was clear that most of them had not done the work). She asked us what we wanted to do as architects, and predictably most people raised their hand at "designer." "You know how many designers there are in the typical firm? If you want that job, you better be prepared to compete for it."

I want to be a programmer/project manager, personally. I guess I'm not going to have to compete tooth and claw for that job, if my studio is anything to go by.

Now back to my regularly scheduled homework exercises.

# Posted by ayse on 10/04/04 at 9:00 PM

October 3, 2004

Happy Weekend

I spent the weekend in Alameda, which was absolutely marvelous. For one thing, there's so much more to do there. On Saturday John and I spent the afternoon painting his bedroom. We did the final glaze coat of red over the yellow, and now the room is a very saturated orangy colour, which is pretty much what John wanted in the room. It'll look better when the room is full of stuff, too.

In the evening, Noel and I went to dinner at Chris and George's house, where Noel got to play their incredibly quiet clavichord, an instrument so quiet that they can play it at three in the morning without fearing waking their neighbors, which is pretty good since the neighbors can hear the harpsichord, and I've always thought of that as a "considerate neighbor" kind of instrument. I'm so glad we don't share any walls with our neighbors, because sometimes we are up until two knocking things down and moving furniture around or whatever, and it would really put a crimp in our destructive lifestyle to have to be considerate of people who want to sleep at night.

On Sunday, Charlotte and Elaine came over for brunchy thing and hanging out, which was very nice indeed. It's so wonderful to talk to people who have more to talk about than what they've seen on TV.

Simon was all scabby and gross, so when I left to go back to school (I had to meet with my statics lab partner to build and calculate loads for a mobile), Noel took him to the vet (verdict: allergic to fleas, which were apparently acquired on the sojourn under the neighbor's house; treatment: flea drops all around). It was hard to leave to go back to school. I love getting to study architecture in more depth, and I'm really enjoying my classes, but I wish I could do it while living at home. On the other hand, I'm getting a much better and more valuable education here than I could get at either of the local architecture schools.

I went from the car to my studio and worked there until after eight, then headed back to my room and set up the TV my landlady is storing in my room, thinking there might be something decent on (nope). I'm super tired today for whatever reason, so I'm going to get to sleep earlier than I was last week (when I was going to bed after midnight most nights, ugh). I'm going to have a busy week this week, so I need to be careful to stay well rested.

# Posted by ayse on 10/03/04 at 10:20 PM