Some reassurance

10.24.2007 Comments: (1)
Just wanted to say real quick that Dan and I are safe, and no where near the devastating fires that are burning in Southern California. Clearly, it is a horrible situation, and a LOT of my students and some of my staff have families that have evacuated and some have lost their homes. So, know that we're safe but please keep them in your thoughts.

Sharks, ripcurrents, and Ferraris, oh my!

10.21.2007 Comments: (2)
Well, maybe it was the talking about my job or mentioning the word vagina that had no one commenting on the last post...I don't really know, but we'll keep blogging away over here, trying to keep people we love updated on our lives.

Dan's parents were just here for a short visit - I wish it could have been longer, because I had to work while they were here during the week, and it's such a long trip to make. Either way, I think they had a good time. It was nice to see some faces from home! They got in on Wednesday morning, and their flight on Virgin America was not so great. The inflight stuff (TV and the like) wasn't working properly, and they go delayed for over an hour in San Jose due to high winds in San not so great. Thursday, Dan took them to Sausalito for the afternoon - they got to ride the ferry, I'm a little jealous. They took great pictures, but I'll let him blog about that on his own. Friday, everyone just hung around Berkeley and spent some time together before we had to take them to the airport on Saturday morning! Like I said, quick visit! But we will be seeing them again in about a month for Thanksgiving (we're going to Nashville, where Dan's brother, sister-in-law and two nephews live).

So, since we rented a car for the morning to take them to SFO, and since we were already there we decided to get the car all day and just do something fun. We didn't have any plans, just kind of went where the wind took us. It was SUCH a gorgeous day, clear blue skies and it was warm and sunny, we couldn't have had better luck.

I decided I wanted to drive all the way over the Golden Gate Bridge, since I've never actually been all the way across it. Everytime I've been, my tolerance for cold and wind has only gotten me to the first tower before I peace out and turn back. So, we drove across and then stopped on the other side to look back. Hey - did I mention that it was a REALLY nice day? We also went to the monument for the Lone Soldier, which is dedicated to every soldier who has gone out to sea past the Golden Gate Bridge. It's very nice - worthy of recognition like any of the DC monuments. Made me think of my grandfather, and my uncle who were both in the Navy.

So we kept driving north, and stopped off in Sausalito to drive around and see what Dan and his parents had seen earlier in the week. It's a really nice little town, about 8 miles from San Fran, but basically is the town at the other end of the Golden Gate Bridge. It has a huge marina, and has nice shopping and cafes and bed and breakfasts and the like. I'm supposed to let Dan talk about it, so anyway. After exploring a little, we got back on the road, passed a sign for Stinson Beach which sounded lovely, so decided to go that way. Mmmm k, let me just say that it takes quite a while to get there, down extremely windy roads but it's incredibly worth the effort. After exiting the freeway, you drive most of the way through forests of eucalyptus trees, which smell amazing and occasionally peek out over views of the bay and sometimes of the city skyline behind you. But, when you finally do reach the beach, it feels like a totally new world. It kind of pops up out of nowhere, just a teeny little town built into a cove on the shoreline.

The sign said that it has a population of 486...and I believe them. We found 3 restaurants, a market, a motel, a book store (my new favorite bookstore!! amazing.), a couple shops, a park, a place to rent beach stuff...and houses. That's about all there is. We pulled off at one of the restaurants, because we were, you know, hungry. Honestly, we were expecting burgers and fries and ended up eating some of the best food I've had here. Don't you love it when restaurants surprise you? We had carelized banana stuffed french toast and an Asian pear salad and three cheese mac and cheese. Not what I was expecting in a town of 486 people!

Anyway, we wandered around, went to the bookstore which was, as I previously mentioned, pretty amazing, and then we went to the beach. It's really nice, lots of sand, unfortunately lots of children flinging the sand into my eyes, but it was too nice out to really be upset. Plus their parents were there. Dan wants you to know that he did go and stick a hand into the water, and so now, he's been in the Pacific Ocean. Just in case, I don't know, you're keeping a list of where Dan has yet to swim.

On our way out, I finally took the time to read the sign that says, hey, you might not want to swim here because A) lots of ripcurrents, and those are bad and B) great white sharks swim here and someone got attacked in six feet of water. SWEET. Talk about ideal beach getaway.

Anyway, so I'm trying to determine why on earth people would swim there, when Dan is distracted but what we think is a car show in the parking lot. Ridiculous amounts of wealth on display! Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and just one Porsche. So Dan goes over to talk to them, and take pictures to send to Franklin (seriously) and he ends up discovering that no, while the cars are out and the owners are showing off the engines and people are taking pictures, this is not a car show. This is people, who just know each other and know that they all own ridiculous (sorry Franklin) cars, and decided to all get together and go for a Saturday drive. OK. So, there were at least 25 cars there, and several of them are the same (see photo) but maybe I missed how people interact when they all are in seperate cars? Anyway, they also told Dan that when driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, a police car caught up to them and they got an unofficial police escort all the way down the freeway. So, Dan and I thought we should try to get together everyone in the area who uses Flexcar and Zipcar and do the same. No? Come on, you would totally take pictures of that.

What involves Sex questions, the theater, football and a sweet concert? Last week.

10.18.2007 Comments: (2)
I never got to update about a fun program that I did last week. Each of my RAs (I supervise 12 of them) have to do various programs throughout the semester - one that builds community (primarily social), one that is educational/academic, and one that either relates to service or leadership. Juan, one of my RAs, decided that for his educational/academic program, he was going to do one related to sexual health. So, for a week, he left slips of paper and boxes out in each building lobby for people to submit anonymous questions, which would be answered in a seminar type fashion the following week. So, he got an OB/GYN nurse practitioner from the school health center to come in Yeah, my name was on the flyers people, I'm kind of a big deal. The program was really well attended and we answered maybe 50-60 questions? And programs like this not only reaffirm my enjoyment of talking to students about sexual health, but also reinforce my belief that students, in general, do not have nearly enough education about ANYTHING related to sex, sexuality, sexual health, etc. Need examples? Here's a list of questions (I am not making these up) that people wrote down to have answered:

"So...where do you put it in?"
"What/where is the clitoris?"
"What happens if a guy takes the morning after pill?"
"Do vaginas make noise?"
"Does sex always hurt?"
"I can't have an orgasm. What should I do?"
**If you would like any of these questions answered, maybe email me seperately.**

So, that started last week off on a really good note. I love doing programs like that. In the beginning, even saying the word vagina makes people turn bright red and giggle, but by the end, students are asking questions and gettnig involved and ah, the magic of learning.

Since then, we've been really busy taking advantage of lots of events living near a big city and everything. Last Thursday, we went to see the touring production of Sweeney Todd with a group of staff and students. This production is really minimalist and really awesome. 10 people put on the entire show. The ENTIRE show. As in, there is no orchestra. The actors sing, act and play all of the accompanying music for the show. Every person is on stage the entirety of the performance and wow, it makes me tired to even think about. Sweeney Todd in general is a morbid, but fascinating show, but this production of it was really powerful and very very good. Besides the really amazing acting and performance of everyone in the show, the other highlight was after the show after all the ovations and curtain calls and bowing and everything, the woman in front of us stood up and mentioned to her date, "I totally thought there was an orchestra! It took me a long time to realize that what they were doing on stage was the ACTUAL music we heard!" Yeah wow. Sadly, we have no pictures to memorialize this event, which is doubly sad because it was held at a different theater than Avenue Q, and the theater is small and beautiful. Hopefully, we will be seeing more shows there and we will take pictures next time.

Saturday, aka football "what the hell is going on" day, was really interesting. As you may know from reading previous posts, we have season tickets to the Cal home games, and Saturday was homecoming, and Cal was playing Oregon State. Honestly, before the game started, Dan and I were not stressed out about rushing to the game, we didn't foresee any riveting football, honestly. We actually ended up staying home to watch the LSU/Kentucky game until the bitter end, which was an amazing game. I was sad LSU lost, but excited because Cal would have totally have become the #1 team in the country, and that's pretty awesome. So, we got the stadium actually only a couple of minutes before halftime and the crowd was pumped because they had announced LSU's loss. Too bad Cal was LOSING. To Oregon friggin State. They were losing at the half, they were losing going into the fourth quarter and honestly, with 6 minutes left in the game, Cal was down by 10 and I was asking Dan to look up Pizza Hut's phone number to have them deliver by the time we got home (no, we couldn't leave early...I have a thing about it). So, I had kind of already accepted the loss. And then, Cal scored a touchdown. Hope returns. Crowd is beyond excited. With 51 seconds left, they are marching down the field to field goal range to tie the game and send it to overtime. With 6 seconds left, our freshman quarterback called a running play, didn't get the ball out of bounds and the clock ran out. YEAH. Oregon State rejoices. Cal fans are dumbfounded. The girl behind us cries. Seriously, the picture below was taken about 2-3 minutes after the game ended. Notice all the fans still in their seats looking a little lost.

While I share in the sadness of the loss, I maintain my position that Cal, ranked #2 in the country going into the game, should not have had to rally to tie the game with 2 minutes left. They lost the game long before the clock ran out before they could kick a field goal. So, I am simply trying to remember that hey, Tech is still doing well, Penn State put a hurt on Wisconsin and hey, Dan and I still have tickets for the Cal/USC game. Good times.

Sunday and Monday=nothing exciting.

Last night, Dan and I went to go see Missy Higgins in concert in SF. She was introduced to us senior year in college and is a folk singer with an amazing voice, who is actually from Australia. She's released two albums, but you can hear everything for free on her website So, we found out VERY recently that she was on tour and would be in SF last night at a bar/lounge called Cafe du Nord and also that presale tickets were sold out. Awesome. They told us that they would be selling some tickets at the door as well. So, last night I made Dan leave all sorts of early to get to the bar so that we could get tickets. Too bad when we got there we joined what felt like a huge line. We then found out that they only had 40 additional tickets available. But, we waited, and being the Debbie Downer that I am, I started making alternate plans in my head. So, as the line moved we got to the front to check IDs.

Bouncer: Did you already buy tickets?
KK/Dan: No
Bouncer: The two girls in front of you might have gotten the last two...we're counting now, hang on one second.
KK/Dan: *exchange horrified look*
Bouncer #2: I have one ticket left.
Bouncer #1: They're together.
Bouncer #2: Alright, you can both go.
Bouncer #2 to Bouncer #1: No more non-presales.

Um yeah. THAT WAS AWESOME. I kind of wanted to do a little dance down the street past all the rest of the people in line. But instead, we went in, hung out and ordered dinner, and had a couple drinks, and got a table with a sweet view of the stage and Missy came on and she sang for a solid 90 minutes. She's just an amazing talent and sounded exactly the same live as she does on her CDs, which is reassuring you know? What has been recorded is actually her voice. Anyway, she just belted out song after song after song. Not any messing around, just performing. I really appreciated it, it's been a while since I've been to a concert in a small venue and it was nice to find a great new place to go for live music. Also, the place was really amazing - it was a speakeasy in the 1920s and has a really dark but classy look to it. The bar itself is all wooden and carved beautifully, they have a lot of small tables and big plush chairs, and the walls and ceilings are covered in crushed red velvet. So, yeah. Enjoyable.

And now, Dan's parents are visiting which is exciting. Tomorrow, Dan and his mom and dad are going to go to Sausalito (I have to work..wah wahhhhhh) so I'm sure there are more posts to come.

Power of Perception

10.11.2007 Comments: (1)
Dear Dove: We thought the Campaign for Real Beauty and the Dove Self-Esteem Fund was worth sharing too. Onslaught: Evolution:

That's what I do...I make glass tubes.

10.08.2007 Comments: (4)
So, Rosa left out a very important fact from our walk in the city (our city walk, if you will). One of the points on the tour was the site of Philo Farnsworth's lab when he was developing all his patents for the first television. This is the best Sportsnight reference I have ever seen in real life. Seriously, I was REALLY excited. Probably inappropriately so.

Rosa left Thursday evening, which was really sad because we won't see her for the next YEAR while she's off traveling the world. Who does that?!?! Oh right, Rosa. Too bad everyone else will soon quit their job and start traveling, learning languages and working on organic farms in Australia, because you know if Ro does it, it MUST be cool.

After we finished being sad that Ro left, on Saturday Dan and I went back to Napa because...we wanted to and we like wine and stuff. We went to four wineries we'd never been to before, and ate some yummy lunch and came home with some yummy wine. The owner of the first place we went, Turnbull Cellars, has the largest privately owned collection of Ansel Adams work in the world and a lot of it was on display. There were signed prints from the 1920s, it was really nice.

The second place we went, Grgich Hills (pronounced grrr-gich...we had to ask) was founded by Mike Grgich who is kind of a big deal. In 1976, he entered a California wine in a blind taste test in France (you know, where they're all snooty like) and his wine won, and was declared best in the world. But the French were completely outraged that this upstart kid from Napa won, and didn't want word to get out about it. That didn't work out. So, he basically put Napa Valley on the map, and he's in his 80s and is still the winemaker for his own winery. Pretty sweet deal. While we were there, Dan got to stomp grapes. He got into it.

I'm kind of blanking on a fun fact about the third place we went, except that it was called Clos Pegasse, and it has a lot of modern art. And it had some wine too.

And the last place is called Merryvale, and is famous for it's cask room, where they hold private events. I mean, and their wine and stuff. But the room is super dramatic, lined with huge casks and barrels that hold thousands of gallons of wine with candles and dramaticness. See photo. We didn't get to Merryvale until about 6 PM - and it's one of the wineries that is open late (6 PM is late in Napa) and so, clearly, there are a lot of people there at that time trying to squeeze in one last tasting, kind of like Dan and I were doing. Except, we weren't sloshed like the middle aged people next to us chanting "chug chug chug!" or the people on the other side of us who totally skipped out on their bill while our wine server man had temporarily walked away. Who lets these people out in public?? Sigh.

But, the day wrapped up by going out to a new favorite restaurant that serves Burmese - yummmmm. And then coming home to watch the Tech/Clemson game that we had recorded. NICE. I was proud. Even though we didn't really have any offense. And even though Clemson got a safety. I love a good safety, don't get me wrong, but only when my team scores them.

What else to report? The kitties are getting bigger, almost by the day and I'm sad about that, but what can you do. Kids these days. Thursday, Dan and I are going to see a touring production of Sweeney Todd with a bunch of the other RDs, and then this weekend is homecoming for Cal, and since they're ranked SECOND in the COUNTRY, it should be a pretty crazy weekend. Next week, Dan's parents are coming to visit and then the next weekend we're going to Vegas to celebrate my birthday. Huzzah.


Guest Blogger: Ro!

10.04.2007 Comments: (5)
Greetings world!
Since KK and Dan are horrible at updating their blog in a timely manner, I flew here all the way from Reston to regulate.

I arrived in Berkeley Tuesday night and was taken to Yoghurt Park, a fat-free frozen yoghurt place that is “REEEEEEEALLY GOOD.” It was late and the line was still out the door. It did not disappoint. However, the winner of the highlight of the night goes to Mrs. Jean Jiao-Alexander, who somehow split her pants at the apartment and then proceeded to walk around Berkeley with her hand on her right butt cheek. Strong.

On Wednesday we had lunch at Thai Basil, a cheap Thai place located in the Asian Ghetto. We took the BART into the city to do a city walk. KK gave me the option of walks 1, 2 or 4 and after looking at the maps for each walk, I chose walk 1, which also happens to be the longest walk in the whole book. She was obviously thrilled at my decision. I was named the walk nazi, Dan was time keeper and puddle jumper (see photo below) and KK was official book reader. The book informed us that this walk had a lot of plaques. It was not kidding. Good times.

Dan and KK are pumped for the walk!

Group photo at Transamerica Redwood Park. We are so cute!

The title of the sculpture is “Puddle Jumpers.” The title of the photo is “We Can’t Have Nice Things or Go Nice Places Because Dan Embarrasses Us in Public.”

We walked by the Church of Scientology and KK was scared for her life. The girls standing outside invited us to go inside for an open house. Dan was the only one brave enough to step in.

Many years ago, some guy made friends with a parrot and then the parrots multiplied and they still hang out at the same spot. We happened to make it to that point in the walk exactly at dinner time for the parrots. Coolest thing EVER. They sure eat a lot.
Then randomly, the parrots would get spooked and fly away. But they usually weren't away for too long.

3.18 miles later, we finally finished the walk! Since I was the walk nazi, I made us walk back to the plaque that marked the start of the walk, so we could stand on it again and take another photo.

For dinner we ate at House of Curry, a great spot for cheap good Indian food. For our midnight snack, we had donuts at King Pin Donut. If you haven’t noticed yet, food was an integral part of this visit.

And now it’s Thursday. After that intense walk around the city yesterday, we thought it would be good idea to go on another hike around the Berkeley hills. We walked up towards the football stadium and saw the tree people. There were some cops there that were searching through a car because last night a police car was set on fire and they were trying to find some evidence.

Dan led the way up the hills and off the beaten path to the big yellow C that is painted on the ground at the top of the hill. The view from the top was amazing and we had a good view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Now for everyone’s favorite fact game – I am quitting my current job at the end of the month to become a full-time bum. I leave on 10/28 for Hong Kong and will be traveling with a friend around the western part of China for 5 weeks. After that, I will be taking language classes at a University in Taiwan for 5 months. Then in June I am flying to Kuala Lumpur and taking a bus to Singapore to visit some friends. Then my sister will be meeting me in Melbourne, Australia and we plan on working on an organic farm somewhere in the country. After 2 months in Australia, we are going to Auckland, New Zealand for 10 days before coming back to the US in August. Hopefully by then I will have an idea of what I want to do with my life. If anyone has any suggestions as to what that should be, please let me know because right now I have no clue.

Ok, so maybe this post will get them rolling again and all their fans can enjoy more regular updates of adventures in the Bay Area. A big THANK YOU and HUGS for Dan and KK for letting me stay over and be guest blogger. Ciao!