Monday, September 29, 2008

Public Transportation.

I really wish I could convince every person that lives in a city with public transportation to take it. Having lived now in four cities of various sizes with public transportation systems, it's always fascinating to see the way people feel about no-car life. It only occurred to me after I started riding a bike that I could get by without a car in the last city I lived in. You have to understand - midwest cities are car-based. (The exception might be Chicago, but if you've ever had to deal with rush hour there, you'll realize that there are still a ridiculous amount of automobiles.)

I lived in Midwest city #1 until I was 18, then shifted to Midwest city #2 for college, with a break for awhile in there to live in New York, and now I've ended up in San Francisco. City #1 has a public transportation system, but honestly? I don't know a thing about it. I lived in a suburb, you see, and I'm confident that city buses didn't run out there. Or if they did, I surely didn't know about it. I had the parental taxi until I was 14 or so, then started dating a boy who was old enough to drive, then was the proud owner of a 1990 Mercury Sable when I was old enough to drive. (Her name was Mabel and I cried the day she ended up in a junkyard. For the curious, she was followed by her 1995 edition, Boris the Taurus.) Also, at this point, my parents could give me $10 and I could drive on it for a week, so I wasn't freaking out about gas prices, and at 16, I hadn't quite realized that I was hurting the environment.

Midwest city #2 has, actually, a really fabulous public transportation system. As mentioned before, I didn't know that until I got on a bike. It's a very hilly city, you see, and I think I've stated in the past that I'm not a particularly good cyclist. (Reference: five wrecks in two months; broken collar bone.) Bike racks on the front of buses are the second best thing to ever happen to me. 

The first best thing? About a year and a half or so into college, a bunch of people reached an agreement that let every student at my major public university ride the bus for free. A flash of my student ID and I didn't have to pay a cent to get wherever I wanted to go. The bus system was kind of confusing and hard to get used to, and it wasn't terribly fast or consistent, but if you learned how to make it work for you, it was a godsend. And it was, again, free.

New York, I cannot say enough about your public transportation. I miss it so much, regardless of the time I spent bitching about it when I was there. A combination of subways and buses could get me anywhere I needed to go. I lived pretty far uptown and wasn't yet on a bike, so the subway and I made good friends pretty regularly. For $76 a month, I could get off at all the wrong stops I wanted. And I firmly believe that every 21-year-old girl needs a couple of good stories in her repertoire about what she saw on the Manhattan-bound E train at 4 a.m.

San Francisco public transportation is weird. Really, really weird. There are buses. There are cable cars. Some lines have numbers and I think some have letters and then there's a subway system that appears to be run by a completely different company. I remember visiting my then-boyfriend in 2003 and he took me all over the city on this method of transportation or that, but I had no idea what the hell was going on. The Washington D.C. Metro that I mastered at the age of 8, as well as the Paris Metro at the age of 17 when I was mostly pretending to speak French  made more sense to me. (My problem with BART, for locals, is that I can't grasp the idea of anything other than flat fares. NYC: $2, wherever you're going, ever. $7.80 to go to Oakland? Weird.)

I really encourage people to take whatever public transportation they can, if for no other reason than to prove to them that it's probably way easier than they think it is. Midwest city #2 recently held a day where people could come downtown and learn how to ride the bus. There were buses set up so you could get on them and take seminars learning how everything worked. I'm not kidding. And while I think that's kind of stupid - it's a bus, people, seriously - it isn't a foreign concept to me. There's all this anxiety with people who have never been on a city bus before, and it certainly surrounds the fact that everyone but you totally looks like they know what they're doing. An incredibly brilliant friend of mine told me a story once about how she wanted to ride her bike around, but the bus pulled up and she couldn't figure out how to pull down the bike rack so she totally didn't do it. It makes me really, really sad. 

I was a part of the issue, though. I lived less than three miles from my college, and I spent most of my time driving there. Ridiculous. $228 per quarter, plus gas, plus the ridiculous toll I was taking on my car by only driving it in the city for super short distances, etc. 

The PT issue here is getting slightly easier thanks to the recent injury. Getting on a bike simply isn't happening for me, so I've got to get around somehow. It's also encouraging me to get out and walk neighborhoods more, as I have very little desire to take two buses to get somewhere, especially if the first bus is only going to take me less than a mile. Of course, in the case of getting to the hospital for my follow-up appointment, I decided it was really stupid to take one bus .8 miles to take another .8, so I just walked it. I will continue to get exercise even without a bicycle, I swear it. 

If your city is smart enough to have some form of public transportation, take a Saturday or something and check it out. Don't do it when you have somewhere to be ASAP, because you'll just panic and get all anxious about the fact that you're not in control of how fast you get there. Ride somewhere just for fun. You'll be surprised at how awesome it is, and how much you totally didn't spend in gas that day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

500 Club + Debate aftermath.

Note to self: Next time you go to 500 Club to watch a presidential debate, you might want to get there an hour early. Good lord.

So, 500 Club was absolutely packed by the time I got there at 5:45. I will say this - it's the type of place I think I'd like a whole lot if it didn't have so many people in it. It could use a pool table, but quite frankly, I feel that way about every bar I've ever been in.

It is an interesting experience being in a room of people just like you. I managed to get up to the bar, thankfully, because this sling is still putting a damper on my ability to hold a beer. I was standing next to a guy who was really, really unhappy to be there. He was older and really hated the fact that his bar was being infiltrated by crazy hipster liberals. I wanted to feel badly, but it turns out I didn't. When we'd get all riled up about Obama, he'd attempt to shout out some counterpoint. Didn't so much come across as intelligent debate so much as being curmudgeonly. He left fairly early, and because an incredibly kind girl wanted to be nice to the chick with her arm in a sling, I managed to snag a seat at the bar right in front of the television. Score. 

Props to 500 Club - it was a little difficult to get drinks, but the bartenders were fabulous. They ran out of Anchor Steam about halfway through, but they have a fantastic selection of other beers, so no one seemed too distraught. Me? I was throwing down $2 PBRs, partially because I'm very poor, partially because I like hipster beer, but mostly because I was a little afraid that someone was going to knock into me, and I am notorious for spilling beer all over myself if someone gets within two feet of me. I have yet to spill a bottle of beer on myself or others, but a pint glass? Watch out. Also, The Roommate couldn't get close to me at the beginning, so I needed something I could pass over people's heads to him, and a brimming glass of Racer was not going to work out.

A friend of mine in her assessment of watching the debate at a hipster bar in New York said "We're really partisan, so we don't know if Obama is winning or not." This is how I felt. Don't get me wrong - I'm making my Sarah Palin jokes ("Oh shit, they asked about Russia! If McCain mentions Palin, we're taking shots!") and pounding the bar every time Obama says something about healthcare. But really, he could have thrown the debate and we would have cheered at everything he said and booed McCain. I felt like both parties made some incredibly good points. But really, we were just happy to watch Barack Obama and ponder the idea that we might have a president we actually support in a few months. 

So, thanks, 500 Club. I'll be back, but I know how to play your game now. See you at the next debate.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Working + Debate.

So, I've been a little absent, and I apologize. 

Very, very good news: I picked up a very short freelance job that will pay my rent for the month of October, which is a pretty huge thing in my life. I have also started opening up some fairly healthy dialogue with a few companies that are looking for freelancers, so with any luck, maybe I'll never have to put on pants or leave my apartment, ever. I'm loving the work I'm doing right now, even though it's a small job and it's pretty simple. I'm doing motion graphics and getting paid for it, and that's the whole reason I moved out here. 

In addition to paying my rent, it will also be paying for my beer for at least a couple of weeks, at the rate/bars I've been drinking at. ($5 pitchers of PBR at Make Out Room? I know it makes me sound super hipster, but if The Roommate and I can get drinks for $1.25 each, I really don't give a good damn. And I feel way better about the $4 Anchor Steam we order after that pitcher.) And speaking of beer, go to a bar tonight and watch the presidential debate. 

Really, just watch the presidential debate. But I don't own a television, and I'm sure many of you are the same way. It's foreign policy tonight, kids, so let's fire up the McCain drinking game and see who at least talks like they've got the most experience.

SFist has a list of places that will be showing it. I'd like to hit the 2 Lips showing, but have little desire to get on a bus, and I'm still all slung up from this stupid collar bone thing. Instead, I'll be at 500 Club, and a recent text message confirms that The Roommate will be meeting me there. So if you're in the mission, swing by! And if you see a redhead in glasses, launching back the cheapest beer they've got and wearing a sling, there's a chance it's me, so come say hi. I still know enough people in this city that I don't need to use my second, broken hand to count them. Come make friends!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Accidental delay.

It's been a couple of days, folks, and I apologize for that. Let's go ahead and get it out of the way: I snapped my collar bone falling off of my bike. 

It is incredibly difficult to refer to myself as a cyclist sometimes. We should also get it out of the way that I've fallen off of my bike five times in the past two and a half months. 

Test ride: Ripped up left foot. Still scarred.
Rounding a corner too fast: Convinced my pedal was going to scrape and I was going to land in traffic, I chose to give in to it and slammed my bike directly into a curb, flinging myself into a pile of dirt. Still scarred on inside of left ankle from pedal scrape.
Totalled bicycle: A really, really not pretty incident involving a lot of injury. Scarred on elbow.
Meeting train tracks: Like an idiot, threw bike into BART tracks on Market St. on a Saturday night. Convinced I broke a small bone in right foot.

And then there's this one. I've considered coming up with a really cool story, but there isn't one. What I can come up with is this: I was in my highest gear and my chain slipped off. I was pedaling really, really hard. When my chain slipped, my feet flew off the pedals, and I simply lost control of the bike. I went over the handlebars, directly onto my elbow and shoulder, causing a stress fracture in my right clavicle.

If you see a red-headed girl walking around the mission (uh, let's say from 16th to 22nd between Mission & Dolores), with her arm in a white sling, probably wincing a little, possibly walking with a tall boy with brown hair and a red beard, it's probably me and The Roommate. Stop and say hello to us. I look really, really pathetic, and I promise you my hair is usually a lot cuter than this.

Special thanks: There were four people who stopped to help me, called an ambulance, and called The Roommate. If you helped out a cyclist on a little blue bicycle around 7th & Townsend on Thursday, thank you so much. I don't remember any of your names. I was really scared and in a blinding amount of pain, and you were all really great. I wish I knew who you were, but thanks for staying with me and making sure I was taken care of. I'm sure you had better things to do with your day.

Additional thanks go to the paramedics that said it was okay to curse and told me that when someone offers you morphine, you should take it. I'd also like to thank every single person I came into contact with at San Francisco General Hospital, especially the male nurse who helped me fasten my bra when I was crying and couldn't do it myself, who reassured me that he had one just like it.

I'm not going to lie: It hurts. Really, really, really hurts. It's getting a little better by the day, but "better" from "worst pain I've ever experienced, literally" is not much of a step up. I took a successful shower yesterday, and managed to BART it over Potrero Hill to go to a job interview this morning, so these are all steps in the right direction. I have learned that morphine makes me sick, vicodin doesn't affect me, and that I really like Bayer with caffeine added to it. I have also learned that Farmacia on 20th & Mission has Mexican coke for $1.29. That doesn't have anything to do with the rest of that information or my health, but it's pretty important to me. 

Plus, I'm wicked angry that I can't ride a bike. It was the one thing keeping me happy and entertained around here, and now I've lost it for 6-8 weeks. There have been much happier girls than myself in the past.

How are you doing, San Francisco? It's hot out today. Hope you're staying remotely cool. Get a Mexican coke. Totally worth it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New apartment, inconveniences.

So, despite earlier claims that I was going to stay in my $600/month, no-kitchened studio (in my defense, it was going up to $860 for October), I'm signing papers on a new apartment tomorrow. It comes with a year lease, which is incredibly scary. In good news, The Roommate is capable of affording it on his own in the event that I have to bail and go back to the midwest where I might actually be employable. It is an incredibly large studio apartment with a separate kitchen around 21st & Guerrero for $1150 a month, and it probably goes without saying that I can't imagine a world where I'm more excited. As my mother was kind enough to remark today, who would have guessed a month ago that I'd be so excited about just having a kitchen? Ridiculous. But that's my life for you.

The employment search is, well, continuing. Still haven't heard back from incredibly-cute-bakery woman, but I'm not expecting to hear from her until the end of next week or potentially even the week after. I've started applying to every single job I might be even remotely qualified for, as well as some jobs that I just know I won't get. Today's joy comes in the form of a high-end artisan chocolate shop setting up an interview with me. It won't pay nearly what I need to make to scrape by in this city, but it will be significantly more than the negative income I'm working off of right now.

I had kind of forgotten how inconvenient it can be to live in big cities with no car, especially when you're somewhat used to having a car. Or at least the option of a car - my last month and a half in my previous town, I wasn't really driving the car, but I had the option if I wanted it. Now I have to move. With no car. And I might be buying the furniture that is currently in my furnished apartment, so I need to figure out how to get that to the new place.

Other things that are irritating? I've got to buy all sorts of crap for the new place. I'm a cook, after all, and now I have a kitchen. Nothing but my incredible chef's knife, a microplane grater and two potholders (priorities.) made it to San Francisco with me, so things like pans are all of a sudden going to be incredibly important. As a cyclist, I can officially buy what can fit into my larger of the two messenger bags, which is still not terribly big. I might have to suck it up and go public transportation on this one. 

Grocery shopping was among the most frustrating things about living in New York, that is, until I decided to exclusively use FreshDirect. Anyone living in a city that has grocery delivery service, you're an idiot if you don't take advantage of it. Especially if there's no delivery charge, and the things you can buy are super high quality. Sure, I paid a small premium for some of it, but I was also living in a city where it was incredibly inconvenient to go grocery shopping. I was also living in an area of town with awful grocery stores. So to acquire enough groceries to last me a week - we weren't big takeout people - meant getting on the train, going somewhere else, then carrying whatever spoils I acquired back to the train, riding with them, getting off, walking home, etc. I know these things make me sound like a little bit of a whiner, but when you're buying $150 worth of groceries in a single pass, things get heavy. And I get irritable. Enter FreshDirect, the answer to all of my problems, and the city got instantly more convenient for me. 

I've been googling around and may try out Planet Organics. Not quite the same thing as my beloved previous solution, but those people haven't gotten smart enough to expand out of the NYC market yet. The Roommate is on board with just going to the grocery store and buying whatever I need for dinner that night, but I like my solution better. Having food already in the fridge is a pretty likely sign that I'm actually going to cook. By the time I get home, I probably don't want to go out again, and the chances of me actually making a decision on what I'd like to make before I leave the office (ha!) and get to my apartment are pretty low. If the food is there, I'll make it. Plain and simple. This may sound lazy, but I suspect I'm not the only one like that.

Oh, related news? I'll be even closer to the ravioli place, and now I'll have a kitchen. Mmmm.

A week and a half in this apartment, and I'll be out. I'm already thinking about what I'm going to cook first. (Hint: it's probably ravioli.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Grocery roundup, frustration.

Spirits are a little low around the old apartment, kids. 

No job leads are coming through. The "be here tomorrow" emails I was getting from a certain creative recruiting company when I was still living in the midwest are, somewhat as predicted, no longer rolling in since I packed my bags and moved 2500 miles. I spend eight hours a day staring at my computer, sending email after email, unable to enjoy the fact that I live in one of the greatest cities this country has to offer. 

Still? Trying to remain happy about some things. Went on a great bike ride on Saturday, as I did the Saturday before (with the exception of the wreck, which we are no longer talking about). The Roommate and I have figured out a fun little loop that goes up 16th street, cuts in a zig-zaggy way over to the Embarcadero, and ends up at Pier 39, where I pretend I need a break, but really just want to watch the seals. Then it's back down a little to Market, which we take all the way to Valencia back to our neck of the woods. Attempted hitting up The Phoenix again (despite the fact that I was there after last Saturday's bike ride, and okay, I was there on Friday too but give me a break because where the hell else can I watch the WSOP, get fries with mayonnaise and drink a Hoegaarden?), but it was overrun by some weird mission bar crawl. 

The same mission bar crawl, I might add, that made me leave Kilowatt after a girl sat half on my lap and pretended I didn't exist while I was watching the Ohio State/USC game, then when I elbowed her in an attempt to move, told me to stop being such a bitch. At 5:30 in the afternoon. When only one of us had been drinking. Seriously, I know I've only been here two weeks so I have no right to bitch yet, but please stop invading my bar. And get a smaller purse.

So today was email upon email, pleading with very good firms to give me a job. The financial situation is a little desperate, folks, I'm not going to lie. In two weeks I have to pay rent for another month, and then there's going to have to be some very serious decision-making about my future in this city. I know jobs don't just pop out at you, I know the good ones take time. That's why I'm being semi-patient. But at the end of the day, I am an unemployed girl sitting in her apartment for eight hours a day refreshing craigslist. No one likes that girl.

Today, though, I decided I had to get out of the house for an hour or so, which led me to a very small market tour of the mission. No bicycle, because I was too lazy to carry it down, but everywhere was very close to my apartment anyway, so it didn't matter. 

Number one was Bi-Rite on 18th between Guerrero and Dolores. The type of place that could easily be my only grocery store choice, ever - great food, two blocks from my apartment. Reminds me so much of the little grocery stores I loved so much in NYC. Also, though? Expensive, which is why it isn't currently my grocery store of choice. Wicked expensive. I know food is more costly here than it is in the midwest, but christ. I am not prepared to shell out that kind of cash right now. Fabulous wine selection, additionally.

Number two was the Guerrero Market on 19th & Guerrero. I went there yesterday to pick up a giant piece of lasagna (just slightly cold in the center, like my home microwave makes it!) and a Chronicle. The Roommate went with me and tried a homemade chicken empanada. We didn't discuss it, but based on how quickly he faced it, I'm fairly sure it was okay. In news of the classy, we also bought a half-gallon of milk, walked to Dolores Park (so many pugs! so cute!), and drank the whole damn thing. I have always thought I could be a major contender for the milk challenge, but I've never actually tried it.

It should be noted that the whole reason the Guerrero Market and I made friends the first time is because yelp claimed it had macaroni and cheese. Since I no longer have a kitchen, I have started to crave all the things that I make really, really well. Yesterday was mac and cheese day. Except it wasn't. Because I think they either have mac and cheese or mac and beef, depending on the day, and they have now only had mac and beef for two days in a row. It is making me sad. I need a giant bowl of real mac and cheese soon, or I'm going to lose it.

Number three was the place we refer to as yuppie food market on 21st & Valencia. I think it's called Valencia Whole Foods. I have never actually purchased anything there, despite walking through a couple of times to see if there's anything that suits my fancy. They do sell the New York Times, and they are just a few feet away from the coffee shop I like so much, so you'd think they held a higher place in my heart. I did see today that they sell one of my favorite cheeses in the whole world, but I felt weird only buying a block of cheese, so I declined. I have yet to be super impressed by them. And it's so, so expensive. The markup does not make any damn sense. 

Number four? Lucca's. Oh, god. Now, here's the problem, and here's why I walked out without buying anything. I have heard only good reviews. But I wanted to eat pasta. They are a ravioli place. It's in their name. But I don't have a stove. So I don't give a damn that their fresh ravioli has been reviewed super well, or that it could not have looked more tasty, or that the people behind the counter made me want to buy every single thing they have... no, what matters is that I can't cook anything they sell. I really wish they had more of a deli-style thing where they could throw some cooked ravioli in sauce for me or something, but that's not what they're going for. It would simply be a solution to make me happy. I would have dropped a ton of money there today if I had a kitchen.

After all the walking-in-not-buying-anything, I ended up at my favorite bodega. Thanks, Mike's at 21st & Mission. You have a huge variety of Milano cookies, you have gallons of milk that aren't overpriced, and you sell individual bags of microwave popcorn for when I decide it's movie night. You have never treated me badly and I continue to walk all the way down there when I know there are closer bodegas to my apartment. Thanks.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Jobs, bikes, movies.

Step one: The Roommate kindly reminded me that he didn't quite "get his ass handed to him" at Kilowatt the other night, and that's fair. He did win one game. He put up a very strong showing in the rest of them. It's just that people there are very, very good. Also worth noting that I'm actually the one who got my ass handed to me.

Step two: Still unemployed, with very few leads. I have applied at four companies that I would really, really like to work for. I won't be mentioning any of them, but two of them are companies that probably everyone has heard of, and the other two are companies you've definitely heard of if you're a designer. This means they are major jobs, and I'm really nervous about my chances at them, but I'd really like it if one of them worked out for me.

So here's where I begin to plead, in a very strange way: If any of you are looking for designers with about two years of experience, particularly 2D/3D animators with a background in all sorts of visual design, feel free to give me a shout. I've got a portfolio and the whole bit, but I'll refrain from posting it here since I'm still trying to hang on to that faux-anonymity. Also, anyone looking to pay me for anything, ever, should probably hit me up. :)

Step three: It was a day for idiot bicycling yesterday. My gorgeous, perfect bicycle is not dealing particularly well with the shifts in temperature. Anywhere between 50 and 80 degrees in the same day? My brakes, both front and back, have started to rebel in a very big way. Screaming, echoing as I approach any moment where I remotely have to use them. So if you've seen a girl on Mission, Valencia or Market riding like an idiot with brakes squealing louder than you've ever heard in your life, it's probably me. 

So yesterday, I blow through an intersection. I realize that this is an asshole move on my part. Not only is it an asshole move, it's an illegal move. But I legitimately did not have the option of stopping by the time I realized the light was turning, and I certainly didn't have the option before I realized just how giant that intersection on 4th Street was. However, Person in Porsche SUV that started to barrel through the intersection - I know you saw me. I know you saw me, because you got about a foot and a half from my bicycle and almost t-boned me. Now, I get that I was doing something illegal, and so this would have completely been my fault, but I doubt you would have actually felt much better if you had hit me, as was clearly your intention. There is no reason to make a statement. I am riding as fast and as hard as I can, and I know you didn't realize my brakes are no longer working, but you still didn't need to deliberately drive like a dick.

It would have totally been my fault, though.

Things that wouldn't have been my fault? If I had run straight into a pedestrian at 14th & Valencia. For anyone who isn't familiar, there is a bike lane on Valencia. On Friday nights, this doesn't really matter, because everyone's too busy pulling their cars into it and throwing on their hazards so they can drop their friends off at trendy but-not-too-trendy bar of the moment and then go look for a parking space. But in this instance, cars were backed up, and I'm flying down the bike lane. A pedestrian jaywalks in front of a taxi, I can't see him, and he steps into my lane about fifteen feet ahead of me. No brakes. A combination of me screaming and my brakes screaming seemed to fix the situation, as I didn't plow directly into him. Perhaps we all need to watch out for everyone doing illegal, stupid things a little more. The Porsche for me, me for the jaywalking pedestrian.

Step four: Go see Burn After Reading. I saw it last night at the Century theater on Market St., and it's phenomenal. It hasn't gotten the best reviews, but I think it's phenomenal. As a piece of cinema, it's lacking a little, but as something to spend $10 on for an hour and a half of pure entertainment, it is what you should be doing with your Saturday night. (Also, the Century theater is really, really nice. And I don't have to bike all the way up Van Ness for it, which is a major plus. Metreon isn't showing it, for whatever reason, so we ended up here. Seats are wicked comfortable.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Being awkward.

I'm a little bit awkward. I know this about myself. I'm that sort of endearing kind of awkward, I guess, if you're into mildly awkward women. I really don't mind making fun of myself, I'm pretty funny, but I have a tendency to do really stupid shit and immediately realize it, then voice that concern, drawing even more attention to the fact that I'm a little socially inept. 

Like last night, walking down Valencia with The Roommate's co-workers, one of whom remarks "Is that the sex shop?" as we pass by Good Vibrations. "Yeah! ...Maybe." I respond, really, really quickly. It is between 17th & 18th and Valencia. I live at 18th. I walk down Valencia all the time. The Roommate and I have had a conversation about it, because the doors are always open. There is no other reason for me to... oh, fuck it. I live on the block and I know what's there. I could have just said "Yeah", and they probably would have moved on. No, self. Tack on the immediate "Maybe". That'll show them you're not really, really awkward.

So I have this job interview today. It's at a bakery. A cute, adorable bakery, the smells of which wafted through every single part of the building. It is run by a cute, adorable woman who was kind enough to bring me in for an interview for a sort of apprenticey-type of job. It's very, very part-time, but I thought it might be something good for me. It would get me out there, doing things, and it would make me a little bit of money. Plus I really, really love bakeries, I love cooking, blah blah blah. Perfect job for me if it was full time, but for now, it might be a lot of fun.

As I have only interviewed with design firms for the past four years, I really don't remember what it's like to interview for anything else. I'm prepped with various answers - why do I want to work in a bakery, for example. She tells me first thing that she's just going to ask me some really, really random questions. 

If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?

What do you like to do with your hands? (Girly story about crocheting scarves for everyone I know when I get a little down in life.)

Who's your favorite artist? (The design graduate blanked and couldn't remember a single artist's name, ever.)

My personal favorite? Calls other bakery employees over, tells me she's going to embarrass me, and asks me to tell them a joke. I'm a funny girl. I'm a story teller. I do not know jokes. Two things - and ONLY two things - come to mind while I'm staring at these women. Why was Helen Keller such a bad driver? (She was a woman.) And, the even more classed-up version, what do you tell a woman with two black eyes? (Nothing. You already told her twice.)

So these are the things that I cannot, under any circumstances, say in a job interview. I stall as long as humanly possible before channelling the biggest pun-teller I know. I rub her apron and tell her "Wow, this is really nice. Is this felt?" Clearly, it isn't, so she shakes her head. "It is now."

This story is inevitably going to become a major part of who I am as a person. She mentioned that it would be a couple of weeks before she got back to the people she interviewed. I'm, uh, keeping my fingers crossed. And probably going to research some jokes, just in case this ever happens to me again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pool players, Bar roundup, Yelp.

In the city I just moved from, I was a fairly decent pool player. Owned a pool cue, shot about three days a week, could occasionally manage to run a table for a few rounds. I used to be a god-awful pool player, but seriously stepped my game up over the summer and became comfortable enough with where I was, skill-wise. There, I was a pool player. Here? I'm just a confused-looking girl holding a pool cue.

Where do you people come from? I have taken a liking to Kilowatt, a bar not too terribly far from me. I'm also a darts thrower. (I cannot bring myself to ever use the word darter because it is stupid.) This is what brought me to Kilowatt in the first place. Two steel-tip dart boards. None of this wussy electronic bullshit. Kilowatt is ridiculous. Two pool tables that people rotate in and out of. The one closest to the door appears to be more competitive and certainly goes faster, but by the end of the night last night people were rotating on both. 

The Roommate is better at pool than I am, and he got his ass handed to him. I put on a fairly embarrassing showing last night. Seriously, people are GOOD. 

I'm a bar person. It's not so much a drinking thing as the fact that I really just like sitting at a bar. Also, the pool playing and dart throwing sort of means that bars are where I'm going to spend my time. So far, I've sampled a couple in the area, and luckily I have yet to run into anything I really hate. I like Kilowatt. I've done happy hour at Elbo Room, shuffleboard/happy hour/later than happy hour at Doc's Clock, shot pool at Lexington Club (which I didn't realize was a lesbian establishment until The Roommate and I had been there for entirely too long, but the drinks are cheap and the pool table was fabulous), and ate french fries at some Irish-y place on Valencia after I mutilated my foot on Saturday. Don't remember the name. Only remember getting hit on hardcore twice, drinking Hoegaarden, whining about my foot, and waiting too long to get in the bathroom with some girls that were trying too hard. Thanks, Saturday night.

Favorite tool? Yelp. And it's taken with about nine thousand grains of salt, but proves to be at least entertaining, if nothing else. Yelp, for people not in a major metropolitan area, or people who already know where the hell they should go to shoot pool, is a fabulous website where you can review restaurants, bars, stores, etc. If you live in my area of town, it's also a way to see which bars within a mile radius of you are way too hipstered out. 

Oh, wait, that's all of them.

Seriously, there has never been such mud-slinging as the hipster hatred on the internet. Good lord, San Francisco. Be polite. The thing is, after reading so many reviews, I'm starting to be able to paint actual pictures of how I think I might respond to certain places. There's a lot of hipster that I'm willing to put up with. I'd rather roll up to a bar with twenty fixies sitting outside of it than have to fight through a crowd of girls with giant purses. These are my own personal prejudices. I'm also willing to overlook just about anything if I can get in on a pool table on a Saturday night without having to constantly hit people with a cue.

Cycling around town is getting easier. Google maps claims it's 3.3 miles from here to The Roommate's office, a feat that takes me no time, is completely flat and feels fantastic. Took the slightly longer way home from there, so I got about 7 miles in today. Working on gearing higher and higher, getting stronger, etc. Since destroying my foot, I hadn't been doing much riding. Felt nice to get back out there today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Apartment search may be over.

So, I've mentioned that I'm subletting illegally, yes? 

I currently sublet from a fabulous woman whose name is not important. She is not allowed to sublet. She was maintaining her $860/month apartment in case she wanted to move back to the area, but she's currently living in one of those outer cities of the San Francisco metro that I can't name and probably can't point out on a map. She is subletting it to me for $600 a month, provided I don't have mail sent here so she doesn't get evicted.

I had yet to meet her, but she had a job interview in the neighborhood today and decided to stop by. Upon discussing everyone's situations, we've decided that I'm going to keep my tiny apartment with no kitchen, and The Roommate will move in here when his lease is up at the end of the month. So now my 150 square feet of heaven will house two people. 

We moved here with what fits into two suitcases. I think we'll be able to make it work. We have yet to exhibit any behavior that makes me believe we're going to kill each other. And you know what really, seriously sweetens the deal? $430/month rent in the mission.

Stay tuned for stories about us killing one another, or all the stories that are inevitably going to come up when I meet the landlord and officially try to get it transferred into my name. I've told her that I have no job but fabulous credit, two very true statements, and she thinks it won't be a problem. I've told her that two people will be occupying the space that's clearly meant for single occupancy only, and she claims it isn't an issue as long as we don't have a cat. If everyone could send me some rental-based karma over the next couple of days, I'd certainly appreciate it.

Other points of winning: I'm going to buy her furniture off her for super cheap, so I don't have to worry about moving Ikea mattresses up the stairs, and she doesn't have to move the table/futon/other table out. Oh, and I found a place in my neighborhood to buy pillows, so I can officially stop sleeping on my arm. Success on all fronts!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why I really like my neighborhood.

I've mentioned that I'm a New York girl, and well, that's sort of true. I was raised in a large midwest city and then transferred to another large midwest city. In the meantime, I spent a year living in New York, and most of my close friends were bright enough to go there for college, so I spent a considerable amount of time there. It's my major experience with no-car, major city living. 

I lived at 143rd St. and Broadway, a location two blocks from either the 1 or the A/C trains. For any of you that have ever casually visited New York, let me assure you - you probably never went there. You got to Columbia and you stopped. There is no reason to go to 143rd & Broadway, unless you're going to the 200's to catch The Cloisters. (You should.) My neighborhood had very little for me - but I had a 3-bedroom apartment in Manhattan for $1450 that I split with two roommates. It was gorgeous and I can't believe we ever let that lease go. But, life happens, and you lose your freakishly cheap, close-to-a-train rent. Then you're living in San Francisco and crying out for $1600 studios... I digress.

I was close to the train, and I never minded the commute. I guess because I never knew otherwise. My midwest cities were all car-based, my New York life involved a train. (And the occasional 4 a.m. taxi.) Everything was a short train ride away, and hey, I paid $74 a month for that damned MTA pass. You better believe I was using it as hard as I possibly could. 

I actually had it pretty easy with midwest life too. I always chose to stay toward the downtown core areas, so I was a 2-3 mile jaunt to everything I wanted to do, and most definitely walking distance from a few bars and restaurants that became my usual haunts. 

But here? Oh, god. Can we talk about my neighborhood? It's fallen under fire in the past couple of days, literally, due to a couple of violent incidents that I'd rather not talk about. They are tragic and awful, and they could happen anywhere, so I'm not so worried that they're happening close to me - just worried for the neighborhood in general. It would be really easy to harp on them, but The Roommate and I love this neighborhood, and so I'm just going to focus on why it's currently the best thing in my life. 

Midwest city #1 had a very large hispanic population, so I grew up with Mexican food. None of this Taco Bell/Chili's nonsense - real Mexican food. You can't throw a rock from my apartment without hitting some fabulous Mexican restaurant. (Well, I can, but I'm not very strong. I'm sure you can't.) The Roommate and I were craving donuts on Saturday, so we googled bakeries and found a donut shop a block away. (95 cent cake donut, yes, please.) We walk to fabulous Indian restaurants, I walk to the bike shop (when I got a flat... not because I make a policy to walk to bike shops), I walk to the nine thousand bars that are the proverbial stone's throw away from me. 

I haven't explored much of San Francisco because... well... I haven't had to. All the things I love and need in my life have been in this very area. That's not to say that I haven't gotten out a little bit, but I most definitely haven't found a single reason to leave my neighborhood. This is the aspect of "big city living" that I was missing in my New York days. The Roommate and I very badly need a new place to stay as of October 1st, and we're both so spoiled with our neighborhood that we're a little unwilling to look in other areas. We're happy to trade off square feet in favor of being able to go wherever we want in just a couple minutes.

The best thing about moving to cities where you literally know nothing, however, is finding all of these things. Where can I buy a New York Times? Where can I get a gallon of milk? Thankfully the internet is alive and well to help me with some major issues (the donuts), and I can piece the rest of it together by just exploring on my own. I've already got a favorite bodega. I've got a favorite donut shop. I'm like those people that order the same thing every time they go to a restaurant - I tend to fixate. 

I know I've got a lot of passers-by thanks to the Mission Mission blog reference, so speak up while you're here! What are your favorite places around here? Where should a girl who's not too-hipster (yeah, I know, who isn't?), doesn't particularly care for super crowded, over-priced bars be spending her time? I'm a pool player and a darts thrower, so those things are major bonuses. The only bars I've attached myself to so far are Kilowatt and Doc's Clock. And while we're on the topic, where the hell would a girl go around here to do actual grocery shopping?

Cycling woes.

The second thing I spent money on in San Francisco was a bicycle. (The first thing, if anyone's curious, was the $7.80 required to get out to Oakland and pick up the bicycle.) It was easier and smarter to get a bike here rather than getting mine out here. I owned a late 70's Raleigh that I had recently totaled, but was working on rebuilding - let's just say I have a history of not being particularly coordinated, and when you combine that with my history of doing really, really stupid things... you probably get the picture.

Living here is shaping me into a better cyclist very, very quickly. I'm from a city with a lot of hills, but it's a very different experience riding there. It isn't a bike-friendly town by any means. It's pretty awful. Here? There are bike lanes! Cars are used to the idea that there might be cyclists around! No one has honked at me! It's been absolutely fantastic. I've read the stories, I know there's a lot of controversy and the city should be doing a little better - but from someone who may have lived in the most unfriendly city to cyclists ever, I'm pretty pleased with how my life is turning out so far. 

Saturday night, The Roommate and I decided that we didn't really want to do the bar thing. We're also not huge "let's try too hard" people, and it was a Saturday night. We decided the weather was too beautiful to ignore, and it was bike riding time. We left the mission and rode toward downtown, where eventually we ended at the Giants stadium to sit by the bay and watch the scoreboard change for the last two innings. (They had the common courtesy to win after we had ridden all the way down there.) Then we rode down the Embarcadero until I decided it was tourist time, otherwise known as time to go to Pier 39 and watch some sea lions. In true touristy fashion, I called my mother at pushing midnight her time so she could listen to them via cell phone. Left there and went to catch Market and go back to our area of town. 

Just as we're crossing over a set of train tracks, he asks me if I know how to deal with train tracks. I tell him no, as I've only crossed them, not ridden parallel to them. He warns me of the dangers of getting stuck in the tracks because you can't get back out. I note this, then promptly get on Market St. and throw my bike into the tracks 20 seconds later. Crash, bang, get foot stuck in the back spokes.

I'd like to note, however, that instead of taking The Roommate's advice and taking the BART home, I continued to ride. I rode all the way down Market to Valencia, and took Valencia straight to a bar, where I proceeded to drink a Hoegaarden and watch the 2008 WSOP on ESPN and give continued updates on the status of my foot. 

I've had my first San Francisco fall. When I crashed my old Raleigh for the first time, The Roommate assured me that I had gotten all the fall out of it - older bikes like that only come with so much fall in them, you see. I proceeded to wreck it two more times. Considering how mangled my stupid foot is, let's all just assume that there's no fall left in this one either. (Oh, and the bike is fine. After some incredibly kind passers-by helped me out of the street, that was the only thing I wanted to know. The front wheel is a little out of round now, but luckily I live in an area of town with bike shops every four blocks, so I can probably get that fixed.)

In other news, for the first time since moving here, it's cold! I woke up and didn't instantly want to throw all my windows open. It's cold and overcast, but I think I see the sun starting to poke out. Today is all about looking for jobs. It most certainly isn't about heating up the leftovers of last week's burrito at 10 a.m. and eating them off the microwave plate since I don't own any dishes... that would be disgusting. (I cleaned the microwave plate first.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Being unemployed.

People, let me tell you this - I can be a lot to handle. I am wordy. I get really, really obsessive about everything. I am occasionally an emotional train wreck. My friends are all incredibly good people, however, and they come with their tradeoffs as well, so it's okay that I'm like this and I don't feel quite so bad about making people put up with my shit because, well... let's just say it's a give and take sort of relationship. You know the one time people can't handle me, though?

When I'm bored.

I am a high-stress, constantly moving sort of person. I also really like to bitch and whine about it, as if this isn't the sort of thing that I live for. So, for example, I would spend the last three weeks of my school quarters complaining about projects, not eating, not sleeping, telling everyone around me that I couldn't wait until it was all over. Then, like clockwork, two days into my one week break? I don't have anything to do, and this is stupid.

I have been without anything to do since June 14th, the day I graduated from college. I'm pushing three months of unemployment. This is the longest I've ever been without something to cling to or something to look forward to. The last time it got close to this bad was the summer of 2003.

I moved from one midwestern city to another, but the two cities are hugely different. I was subletting an apartment - starting June 13th, coincidentally enough - from a frat boy who was going somewhere else for the summer. I had the attic of a three story house to myself and paid $250 a month for it. Out of pure convenience, I paid him the full $750 up front and had a place to live for the summer. I had a boyfriend who actually had things to do during the day, which left me in my sublet, unemployed and looking for a part-time job. This was before I ever had a credit card, so my bills were completely non-existent, and I was living off of going-away money from relatives. Life was affordable and okay. However. I had absolutely, positively nothing to do. This was before I realized the hobbies and pastimes that at least get me through a few hours now. This was the summer I learned to sleep.

Boyfriend gets out of class at 4:50? You better believe I can sleep in till 2, wake up, microwave an artichoke, eat it with some mustard and mayonnaise, and be back in bed at 2:30, awaiting his phone call to wake me up at 5. I was sleeping easily 16+ hours every single day, and I was good at it.

Now, I live in an apartment with three giant windows that face east, so I wake up at 6:30. By 9, I am bored. The Roommate doesn't get off work until 6. The ability to entertain myself is getting a little harder each day. I know, I know - one of the greatest cities in the country, get out, explore, blah blah blah. It's hot. I'm not used to riding a bike this hard all the time. I'm tired. Also, lazy. And I'd like to be within 8 feet of my laptop at all times so that I know when a new job has come up on craigslist.

But I am really, really bored. My favorite author released a book recently that I hadn't picked up yet, and it will be finished within the hour. I managed to convince myself to get out of the house, so I went and sampled some absolutely fabulous Mexican cuisine - and Mexican bottled coke. Oh, God. Highlight of my day for sure. But now I'm back in my apartment, doing whatever it is that unemployed people do. Perhaps I should get out more and explore the area, but I legitimately feel guilty if I'm not spending as much time as I can trolling the internet for jobs. 

So tell me, friends, what do YOU do to get through those times when you seriously have nothing better to do? And if it could cost me a freakishly small amount of money, all the better.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My apartment.

Note: I had been debating for a couple of days where to host the new blog, as I love my personal blog hosting site but it doesn't allow anonymous comments. I do have the time to write this much every day, but what you're seeing right now is the backups I didn't have any place for.

As a personal choice that's based on a lot of factors, I don't plan to ever have children. My friends are of the age where they're starting to have kids, though, which means I'm going to be the faux-aunt with all kinds of stupid stories. The one I'm currently crafting is of my first apartment in San Francisco.

Also, I'm a New Yorker at heart, which means I'm obsessed with talking about real estate.  And I don't have a job, which means I have twenty-four uninterrupted hours a day where I can jump on craigslist and see every single place in the city that I can't afford.

Searching for apartments in large cities develops unique characteristics in people. My favorite is an ability to see through the bullshit. This unique characteristic only actually works once you've been in the city and you've seen a couple of apartments so you can compare what you've seen to what the listing said. A listing for my apartment, for example, would use words like "cozy" or "charming". It will talk up the location. And the bay window. And sure, all of those things are accurate, but can we be honest?

I live in a room. A room that is smaller than my former kitchen and manages to encompass a bathroom, a closet, a "kitchen" (upper and lower cabinets in an alcove, sink, no stove, mini-fridge with television sitting on top of it that I intend to never turn on), a futon and a two-person dining table.

The things that will make my mother cringe (oh, for reference, she might get to be The Mother when we get into her slightly passive-aggressive support of the decisions her completely out-of-control daughter tends to make) are the reasons she will never live in a super large city. In 2002, we lived in a fairly large midwestern city. We had a two bedroom apartment that, well, did the job. We needed a place to live and it fit the bill. The living room was large enough for a couch, a loveseat and a recliner. It had a dining room, it had a spacious enough kitchen, it had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

It was $545 a month.

So it is much to her dismay, I could imagine, that I currently am paying $600 for a studio where I cannot make food. (I have been previously employed as a food writer and I just left a fully-stocked, beautiful kitchen to move someplace with a mini-fridge. The mission has takeout.) Me? I'm elated. Go to craigslist and look up apartments in the mission for $600. Let me know what you come up with. (Then, please forward the links to me.)

The shower is sort of non-functional. I've painted all sorts of colorful pictures of it for my friends recently, so I'll spare them here. They involved tying dogs to the wall and punching them in the kidneys and oh, it's just a story for young audiences. I chopped all my hair off before moving here, and it's a good thing, because I would have been standing there for twenty minutes attempting to wash the shampoo out of it. But it gets me somewhat clean as long as I take the time investment, and I appreciate that. Especially because I ride a bike, and can we talk about the heat wave that's currently enveloping this area? Gross.

The thing is, though, much like my first college apartment - consequently ALSO up four flights of stairs, except I wasn't carrying a 25+ pound bicycle then) - this apartment is mine, and I will wax poetic about it for years to come. I hate my shower, I want to make pasta, I can barely get a gallon of milk in my mini-fridge - None of these things are important. I have a bed to sleep in and what is, legitimately, a beautiful bay window to look out all day while I troll the internet for jobs on my stolen internet connection. There is enough room for me, a bicycle, and occasionally The Roommate if he drops by after a day at work. I can't quite figure out if I'd be able to make this arrangement work permanently - and also, the rent goes up to $950 in October - but it's a start. I'm luckier than most people.

Apartment searching.

San Francisco residents, is there anything worse than finding an apartment? Seriously?

Step one, let's introduce a new character. We'll refer to him as The Roommate. The Roommate is a very good friend who went to college with me. He did San Francisco the smart way: found a job, then found an apartment, THEN moved here. The Roommate is brilliant to a really ridiculous degree, and not just because he figured out how normal people relocate. I'm sure we'll speak more of him later. (Note: he may or may not actually be a roommate, considering all the things I will talk about shortly, but there's a very strong chance he will be, and he might as well be considering he is my solitary connection to the city at this point.

I needed something else to stress me out, so less than 48 hours before I was moving to the city, The Roommate called and said that his landlord had kicked him out. We're not sure why. Landlord has recently been acting a little weird - doesn't want his bike in his room, freaks out when he accidentally clogs the sink, etc. Today, the other shoe drops, and he has to move out. 

Well, this is tricky. See, I was staying in The Roommate's... well... room. For a couple of days. Until I find that magical apartment/sublet/who the hell knows where people stay in San Francisco. And I guess that's still okay? Maybe? Why don't we just spent 48 hours flipping our shit about it instead of thinking logically about the solution?

The apartment search also involves The Monkey. The Monkey likes to climb on things. (So does The Roommate, for the record.) The Monkey has also decided it's time for a change, so we made the decision to move to San Francisco together. Sort of. I'm coming out first to secure an apartment and then we'll live together and it'll be great. And we'll pass that rental application with no jobs and no bank statements that reflect any money.

Oh, have I mentioned that I'm financing this entire journey via credit? Before anyone starts in on how bad of an idea that is: I worked in pre-foreclosure for a year. I spent ten hours a day listening to people tell me they could feed their kids or make their three-months-past-due mortgage payment, so why don't I choose for them? It made me more money than I had ever seen at the time, so I suffered through it and just came home and cried for a year. Got me through a year of college. So I know the dangers of racking up credit. I'm just going to ignore them for a month or two.

So, we start searching for apartments. Me, The Roommate, and The Monkey. The Roommate has a job that doesn't pay enough for him to secure a two bedroom apartment in the city by himself. The Monkey has no job and next to no credit history. Me? I've got fabulous credit but a really ridiculous amount of debt. And no job. Hmm.

I arrive in the city and stay with The Roommate, and life seems to be okay for day one. Day two, Roommate's landlord corners me on the stairs and we introduce ourselves to one another. She has a friend who has an apartment that I can sublet for September. I start to launch into a conversation about how that's not really ideal for me, and then it occurs to me that I'm probably a step or two away from getting myself kicked out of this apartment. Turns out I'm the reason The Roommate is getting kicked out - it wasn't quite effectively communicated that I wasn't moving in permanently. Oops. 

This begins the two day apartment search from hell. I've been off the plane for two hours and we're seeing the most beautiful studio apartment ever. $1575 in the mission. Beautiful rooftop access. Enough space for me and The Roommate, who also moved with what he could fit in two suitcases. A little pricey, though. We decide to think about it and see what else we can find. Roommate goes to see apartment way out in Inner Sunset, ends up being way too small. 

The next day, I introduce myself to the Tenderloin. This is an area of town that I will only discuss objectively, as I have absolutely no biases about neighborhoods. This is also an area of town that everyone told me to avoid at all costs.

Look, people, honestly? I don't get afraid of neighborhoods. I've lived in bad neighborhoods. I'm more scared of bad neighborhoods in the midwest than I am on either of the coasts. I lived in Spanish Harlem for a year. (One of my former roommates has a story about his grandparents getting off the train at our stop and seeing two kids exchanging a gun. I have no such personal stories.) I'm not afraid of sketchy neighborhoods.

So, I go. I see a beautiful $1200 studio that I love. I call The Roommate and tell him to get to this open house right now because we're taking the apartment. He's still at work. Tells me to walk the neighborhood and look for our new bar. (We're pool sharks and dart players. And drinkers, if the amount of time we spent in pool/dart establishments is any indication of our character.) I leave the building, and in the span of 3 minutes, I have watched a man take a shit in the street, watched another man punch a man in a wheelchair in the leg, encouraging all his friends to step up and start a fight, and I am referred to twice as "Big Tits", just in case it wasn't clear what my new moniker was the first time.

This breaks my spirit, not because I have the capacity to fear neighborhoods, but because there are certain things I know about myself. I know I can't live here. In theory, I'm going to end up with a design job that pays me more than people my age should probably make. I'm in it for the cheap rent in the as-yet-ungentrified neighborhood. I will walk by people every day that literally have no other options in their lives but being crazy and fatigued and hungry, and I will go to my yuppie job, and that will make me an asshole.

No Tenderloin.

So then I go see the apartment recommended to me by The Roommate's landlord. Spirit is broken and I really hate my life. I have $500 in my pocket that the US Bank I managed to locate on Van Ness was kind enough to dispense to me. (Credit!) The apartment is on the third floor of a building around 18th & Valencia, right in the neighborhood I want to live in. The current tenant is not allowed to sublet. I can sublet it for $600 for the month of September. It does not have a stove. 

I do not care.

We try to rent $1575 studio. Voicemail says it's been rented. I borrow $100 from The Roommate until I can get to an ATM again, combine it with all the cash currently in my pocket, and I am immediately handed the keys. 

So now I've got 26 days to find a real apartment, or we're all going to be homeless. The Monkey arrives around the 15th. As of today, we may have a fourth roommate. (I don't have a name for her yet. We might call her The Cutie, because she rides a bicycle and has fantastic hair, and her facebook photos confirm that she looks good in a pencil skirt.) 

Dear San Francisco,

If you have an apartment that's three bedrooms and under $3000, preferably in the mission, with bike storage, that you'd like to rent to four recent college graduates with no money and a current combined income of under $50K/year, based solely on the fact that we're trying really really really hard to get jobs, I would appreciate you giving me a call.

New Bay Resident


I'm terrible at these sorts of things, and I always think they're really lame, but for lack of a better first post, here we go.

On August 27th, 2008, I bought a one-way plane ticket to SFO. The ticket was for September 1st. I have absolutely no job, no savings, and didn't have an apartment until September 3rd.

Why San Francisco? Let's start with the cliches and then move on to reasons that might actually be convincing. First of all, I'm a recent college graduate who wasn't having any luck finding a job in the city I lived in. So, yes. I'm one of those stories: graduated college, "moved west in search of opportunities". Second of all, it seemed a logical choice for me. I have friends in the Bay area, I'm a cyclist, and I simply needed something new. I made the decision that I was unhappy with my previous life and I needed to make a change. When I started searching for plane tickets, I found one for $143 that was five days away. All the surrounding tickets were more expensive. September 1st, indeed. 

So I packed up everything I could fit into two checked bags (thanks, $75 luggage set from Kohl's that has moved me across the country three times!) and two carry-ons (thanks, Timbuk2 bags, for already making me look like I live in San Francisco!), and got on a 5:53 a.m. flight. Nine hours later, I was in San Francisco, homeless, jobless, and with no prior experience in the city save 32 hours with my boyfriend back in the spring of 2003. 

I'm a motion graphics designer. The easy question now is "Why not L.A.?" The answer is relatively simple. If I lived in Los Angeles, I'd probably have to kill myself. I just dislike it and really didn't want to live there. In terms of making decisions to change my entire life because I was unhappy, I probably should select a city I actually, you know, want to live in.

How do I know I want to live in San Francisco if I've already admitted I don't know anything about it? It's kind of a hunch. Lots of friends with lots of experiences here, people I trust, who tell me it might be a city for me. I'm a New York girl. I'm a little high-strung. The other day, flying down Mission, someone started to open their car door and I screamed a string of obscenities that would hardly be out of the ordinary in New York. This is not quite part of the San Francisco culture. I'm trying to adapt. I'm hoping that I become less high-strung as the days go on. (Getting a job would probably REALLY ease that stress. I'm talking to you, Bay area.)

Now that we've got the reasons, here's a little more about me. As previously stated, I'm a designer, predominantly 3D animation but with some 2D mixed in on the side. I'm a newborn cyclist. I moved from a city that's decidedly not cyclist-friendly, but with the college graduation and whatnot, paying $4+ a gallon for gas didn't make any sense. I was friends with a lot of cyclists. I spent $75 on a bike instead of a tank of gas and never looked back. That story may be discussion for another time.

I'd like to refrain from getting too personal here, mostly because I'm looking for jobs and I know how easy it is to find people on the internet. It's not that I'm attempting to create some sort of secret identity, just that I'd like to be able to actually document the journey of moving to a completely new city with 150 pounds of luggage, no job and no home - and the job search is a very big part of that. Networking is everything. While I have no plans to slam some company that rejects me, you better believe I'll have words for it if I go on the worst interview ever. I am also friends with a number of people in my exact situation, and I have no interest in naming them by names, because they'll get hit in google searches too, and I don't need their potential employers knowing that I watched them pass out on a pool table the night before.

So, welcome. Hopefully this'll be a fun ride. (With no more flat tires, because I already did that yesterday, on a newly-acquired bicycle.)