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I had to clean out the sink trap and it did not go back in properly. The lab had a huge puddle, and I had to go back in under the sink and really yank out the trap so that it could go back into its position. I shouted profanities the entire time while my coworkers were in the other room. Working in a start-up means that you can lose your shit over plumbing and scream obscenely horrible things without offending anyone.
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It is funny how in the loneliest of times, you can find what you need in some middle-aged men who play your favorite music. I was satisfying my cheese cravings at the Whole Foods in Campbell, on a solitary Saturday night. Two men were jamming to some Beatles songs on guitar and they invited me to come listen. After the first song, I started to sing along and they were puzzled and amazed as to how I knew all of the lyrics. We jammed for thirty minutes and they taught me some piano theory. Then we exchanged phone numbers and they told me how they play outside cafes in Campbell. I should be jamming with them soon, as in tonight. I think this is the beginning of an entirely different and wonderful relationship.
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The year is 2007. I am at the apex of what is an breezy but motionless relationship with The Engineer. I had just taken a shower, and I was naked and wrapped in a towel. He had a bunch of plants strategically placed on the window sill and perhaps I should have been more mindful of their precariousness. However, I knocked them all off the sill, spilling the plants and their contents to the ground. This would be the only time that The Engineer raised his voice at me, in order to exclaim disdain that I had to knock every single one of them down while he was replacing the dirt and the plants in the pots. The comment made me feel small and infantile in what was already a power imbalanced relationship. After cleaning up the plants, he handed me one branch of his aloe vera plant to take home as a peace offering. I put it on the balcony of my studio, never giving much thought to it. We broke up, the plant fractured into branches. It followed me to my place in Sunnyvale. Then it followed me to the apartment in Los Gatos and subsequently the house I shared with my ex. The plant grew larger, so I transplanted it to a steel pail. It grew to fill the pail, despite the fact that it became kind of sickly looking as a result of neglect. I took it to this apartment that I currently live in and I separated the individual buds from the pot. Out of one single plant, there were at least ten viable plants. I placed some of them into new pots so that they can get stronger.
Current Music:
He Can Only Hold Her- Amy Winehouse
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Last night, I watched this documentary on Kurt Cobain. Montage of Heck.

It reminded me of this guy I pined after my entire high school career. When I met him in Junior High, he wore this "RIP Kurt" Nirvana shirt that said "The Sun is Gone, But I have a Light." I thought it was pretty self-indulgent. I also thought that liking him was an exercise in self-indulgence, and that I was compromising my popularity in being friends with him or liking him. Then we did drama together. We were co-stars in this play called "The Defenseless Creature" by Neil Simon. He revealed himself to be a tremendously talented actor. Not only that, but as his mind revealed itself through works of fiction he wrote, school projects he did, or numerous conversations we had about music, I began to like him and I was sure that he liked me back. But the pressure to be liked in junior high meant I had to reject him or at least act very cold. In high school, the tables turned. He met this girl, one year his junior, while directing a drama play and he would stay with her throughout high school. I became the girl who felt socially awkward and didn't know how to fit in. I hung around people who would validate my awesomeness with their laughter and I shied away from putting myself out there with people who were more judgmental. He became more confident and more popular at least among the smarter kids. One time, we were sitting alone in my friend Alex's car after doing some nerdy activity, and he asked me if I wanted to have sex. Apparently, his girlfriend and him were exploring open relationships in high school. As much as I wanted to replace his girlfriend, I realized that my dignity was more important, so I told him no thanks.

Later on, he went to Stanford. Then, pursued a PhD in Computer Science at Berkeley. We met a few times after high school, but I let the friendship lapse. Still, I think about him from time to time. I think about how being socially awkward in either high school or junior high shapes people and makes them into who they are as a person when they grow up. I also think about how our musical tastes are similar even though we have grown in different directions.
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So I bought a domain and started a blog..

messinplaces.com

I will be posting photos and stories of my travels and cooking experiments. The livejournal community has been wonderful, and it is fun to write about personal stuff, but this blog is going to have a bit more heft to it. It should be a fun writing experiment.

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My social life has been pretty busy these past couple weeks so here are a few highlights.

Yuri's Night Happy Hour: I caltrained into the city with my running buddy John and I attended a party in Pier 70, which is out in the Dogpatch. Shengyin came by around 6:30 pm, and we ended up hanging out for most of the night. I enjoyed hanging out in the abandoned warehouse, drinking tequila with pineapple, and dancing to some good funk music. It was smaller and less science oriented than the Yuri's night that I went to in 2008, but I still had a good time.

Archimedes Banya: My friend Athena had some passes to visit this Russian/Turkish style bathhouse in the Bayview district. The clothing optional parts were not as exciting as the more modest areas, but they did have an awesome roof deck where you could sunbathe (nudity optional), enjoy lovely panoramic views, and eat cold smoked fish. After the bathhouse we drove around the city and did some hiking at Land's End combined with various food/beer options. It was also the end of Passover, so I enjoyed my first sour beer in eight days with a brisket plate at Cathead's barbecue.

NIMBY-Flying Lotus Girls Steampunk party in Oakland: I have been testing Burning Man style events to see if it is something I want to do this summer. I went to this party with my friend Shengyin and her boyfriend Joe, after an exhausting Steampunk outfit search in the Hayes Valley and the Mission. My favorite part about this party was the randomness of the music and the art (flaming, computer generated goodness). It felt like a very elaborate co-op party without as much drinking or debauchery. Before we left, a guy was offering us some honey samples from all over the world. I enjoyed it very much and I plan to attend more of those things in the future.

Driving down One: I spent the night in SF after the NIMBY party, woke up and threw on my clothes and drove down the coast so that I could get brunch with Jamie and Melissa after Melissa's triathlon. The coast was cloudy but not covered in fog.I saw some flowers and I even stopped at Pigeon Point to look at the massive Fresnel lens that was once inside of the lighthouse.

LA and Joshua Tree: I drove down to LA this past weekend to visit my two sisters and eat amazing sushi at this small Japanese market called Go's in Canoga Park. The next day we loaded my older sister's SUV for a one day road trip down to Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree National park is one of the most incredible landscapes of California. There is really nothing quite like driving through the desert with all of the cactus, and the boulders. The town of Joshua Tree is pretty cute, and they have some nice cafes and restaurants. I nearly crashed a wedding during dinner at the Twentynine Palms hotel. I would definitely go back to camp and then hike in the hills for a few days around October. My sister and I kept looking for hot springs, but they were a letdown since most of the places there are man made. I think I will plan a trip to the Sierras pretty soon to check out Bridgeport.

Dating: I deleted OK Cupid a while ago because I was weirdly concerned about anonymity in my personal life. I began experimenting with Tinder in early April, but I got bored with it pretty quickly. I downloaded Hinge and it seemed a little more intriguing, but the number of guys on there are only a handful. I keep putting myself out there socially and meeting great and interesting people, but most everyone is coupled up or I am just not that forward in approaching people in real life situations. My apathy in this department doesn't worry me because I am still getting out and doing cool things, but it is still kind of fun to talk about.
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We are on a break for now.

I did not realize that it was screwing with my sleep, my energy level, and my weight loss. This weekend, I barely drank any because my anxiety was kind of in the red zone. On Monday, I drastically changed my four cups of coffee a day to a huge mug filled with green tea. Aside from not having to clean up coffee grounds, I feel a little more focused, relaxed, and alert. It is also nice to have one less substance control my life. Since I did end up purchasing some expensive bags of coffee before this great experiment, and I do not want them to go stale, I might try having a cup or two of coffee occasionally on the weekends. This might be a good compromise to my addiction.

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A facebook post of a squirrel climbing up a tree that I witnessed on an afternoon run reminded me of my one year anniversary of leaving grad school (I mastered out at the end of March). I had been tutoring for half a year, but I started doing it full time. I had a clean slate with respect to careers, which slowed the job hunting process. I was applying for jobs, sometimes two or three a day, but I was also expecting a career transition into data science and programming. I was in a relationship, but I had no idea where it was heading and in many ways it seemed like the beginning of the end. I visited family in LA and Reno. I attended a wedding in Healdsburg. I saw the outside world without feeling like I had some lingering work I needed to finish, or papers to write, or adviser breathing down my neck and telling me I would fail. It was basically the start of my second adult life.

One year later, I have a steady job. I have an apartment. My ex-boyfriend has moved to Seattle to start his new life. I have visited a foreign country outside the US (New Zealand!). I am happier overall that I went along this journey though the whole is definitely the sum of many parts.
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I dyed my hair recently.

The last time this happened was before I turned 25, as my sister was about to get married. I grew the blonde hair out and chopped off all of my hair. My ex said I looked like a "fry guy".

I used a box dye and I did it on a Friday night when I was feeling pretty alone and spontaneous. My hair turned out blondish red, but it seems to suit my skin tone okay, and I am fine with just keeping it until my roots grow a little more.

Saturday, I went out on a date with myself to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford. After that, I peeked in at the Arizona Cactus Garden they have behind the medical center. Then I checked out the new Blue Bottle bar, which opened up where the University Ave Borders used to be. They plan to add food and beer there in a few weeks. It is weird to think that I was browsing at books in there not too many years ago.

Sunday, I ran the Wildflower 10K in Morgan Hill. I wasn't planning to do yet another race, but my running group gave me a comped registration and my friend Melissa decided to join me. I had a weird cramp that caused me to slow down at the beginning, but I still finished under one hour. Melissa and I had brunch together at Sonny's Vietnamese Cafe (a place I used to go to when I worked at Stion). Later on, I drove to Santa Cruz, ate ice cream, and watched Mary and Max with my friend Sarah. It was claymation, but not in a hokey, silly way. I enjoyed it a lot but the ending and ensuing credits made me sad.

Monday, I signed up for yoga at this studio near my work office. I took a vinyasa class and it felt pretty good. It seemed like a good staple for my running cross training. Work is getting to me a little because my colleague has to work out issues with her visa status, so in the meantime she has to work from home. This means I will be trying to get some of her work done in addition to mine.

I am thinking about where in the world I want to go next. Thailand looks pretty likely, since I am planning for a November or December departure. My sister has also implored me to look at Italy. That would be more of a springtime event, but I think that looking that far ahead may not be such a bad idea.
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So I finally told my neighbor about his snoring. He was embarrassed but the response turned out better than I expected. After that, we had a huge conversation in the laundry room. His life is pretty incredible and interesting, so it was kind of cool to connect the dots. I also had a really busy weekend, and I am trying to make up for lost time and to sort my photos, but I finally met nibot and a bunch of his friends at his awesome Equinox party. I soaked my legs in the hot tub while chatting with some cool folks and it made for a good run on Sunday, when I ran the Oakland Half-Marathon. I think I would have had a faster time if not for the fact that I had just run a marathon the weekend before, and running Rancho San Antonio one day prior to that. I am glad that my racing schedule did not kill me. Now I am going to slow my roll, focus on strength, agility, and decreasing my payload, which probably means not eating all of the things.
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