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Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley
March 9th, 2000

All That Long Ago
I received the UMAX-3000 today. No, it's not (unfortunately) a housekeeping robot or a zooty new two seat automobile, but a device that connects to my DSL modem and provides firewall protection and some other stuff to my computer and my webcam. I still have no idea what I'm going to point the webcam at here in the apartment, but I'll think of something and if I can't get it to work over the weekend, I'll jury rig it back at the office and feed more pictures of Broadway while I come up with a solution. Maybe. If I don't procrastinate. In my usual fashion.

Nice lunch at a restaurant we frequent only occasionally as you're looking at ten or eleven dollars with tip out the door for an entree and a glass of water. They make the best pasta in downtown Oakland. I'd mention their name, but they're closing at the end of this month because their rent's been doubled. I suspect many rents in Oakland will be doubled soon enough in this insane housing market. Oakland has always had a reputation for high crime and terrible schools, but it's located 20 minutes from downtown San Francisco and given the current cost of housing people with money are simply moving in with the understanding that crime is going and the schools will change. Period.

Jerry Brown, formerly governor Moonbeam, now Jerry the Mayor, came into power saying exactly that: Bring people, bring business, clean up the schools and put the baddies in jail. The Moonbeam is still spinning moonbeams, no doubt, but on the stump he's straight ball breaking gentrification. If I had any money I'd buy a condominium and watch it double in value over the next very few years, not unlike San Francisco in the 1970's and the entire Bay Area in the last eight or nine years. But I don't (have any money) and I won't (buy a condominium). Except if I do.

Brief Wuss update: He seems OK. Nothing like the peeing he was doing some weeks ago, although SF Chinese New Year parade I wonder if he doesn't leave the occasional small spot on the rug. Not sure how that's going to work out. He eats the food, he's looking reasonably well fed and he remains your basic affectionate cat. When I got him he wouldn't sit on my lap. Took him some years, but now he prefers it. Maybe he's more relaxed. I'd say maybe he's looking older and I keep meaning to ask the guy who gave me Wuss if he knows his age. I'd say more, but I'm not sure I wouldn't be projecting when I talk about him getting older and a little greyer and more crazy eyed and stuff like that. So Wuss is getting older and so am I. Most of the people I know are in their 30's and 40's and that seems to work well, but there are moments when I realize there is a divide of sorts and the rules I now set for myself, the direction I'm headed and the life I'm now living are different to a degree from theirs. They'll understand soon enough, poor bastards. Forty wasn't all that long ago.

Back to lunch: a birthday lunch for me (awwww...) and a good lunch at that and the day went just fine, thank you.

The banner photograph was taken on Telegraph Avenue two weeks ago. The young girl with the mask was taken at the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade last month.