Saying goodbye to a friend

Tomorrow is my friend Victoria's memorial service.

It's weird.

Victoria and I met at a dysfunctional startup at the end of the dotcom boom. Our cubicles next to each other. It was a long time ago--so many lifetimes ago it feels like. Since WHN, we only spoke periodically, and usually via text, Facebook messaging or comments. We saw each other even less. Years would go by between random lunches with Jessica, her, and me--our "peep lunches" we called them. But Victoria was as unforgettable as she was strong. She probably never knew that I thought and spoke of her often.

I remember the antics of our former employer.

I remember vividly her wedding. It was at a beautiful location. She didn't want to bore her guests with a long, drawn out ceremony, so the ceremony itself was short, had an amazing singer. It was short, memorable, to the point, as she wanted to get onto the celebration. It was Victoria.

I remember the bunny she had briefly (William) whom I met..

Peep lunches were almost always held at the Hamburger Hamlet on Sepulveda--it was a place we went often when we worked together. Their lobster bisque was one of our staples--that and those little crispy onion rings. I remember one time laughing in the parking lot after we'd eaten. As I walked her to her car, looking for her usual beemer, she stopped by an SUV and popped open the hatch. "That's right. I drive an SUV now, with a car seat. Can you believe it?! ....Me, of all people!" She said with her usual devilish smile.

Eventually the West L.A. Hamlet closed. When we heard the original Hamlet on Sunset was closing, we had to have a peep lunch there. We reminisced in one of those iconic booths. We talked about her jobs. She was in P.R., and she always had stories to tell--she repped Larry Flynt! She always had doozies to tell. I had no idea this would be the last time I would see her.

As we were leaving the Hamlet, she told me she was dealing with cancer. "This is a wig!" She exclaimed, with her usual smile. "You okay?" I asked. She of course told me she was doing fine. I took it. I don't deal with that stuff well, and this was Victoria. She's indestructible. I knew she'd be fine, and I never gave it a second thought.

When I heard recently there were talks about opening another Hamlet on this side, I thought "Great! That will be our next peep lunch." One of my coworkers I work closely with does P.R. for the company I work for. I've brought Victoria up numerous times to her, as well as randomly to friends. I don't think she ever knew how often I thought of her, and brought her up either directly or indirectly. I never told her. I guess I was really proud of her. I never told her how much I admired her-- her tenacity, animation, and strength of character. I'm not sure I realized any of it myself. Emoting is not something I'm particularly comfortable with, but now I find myself filled with regret for never having told her.

Even though we only saw each other every couple of years, I guess I just always took for granted she'd be there, and we'd still be sharing stories every so often.

It was the Thursday after celebrating the gay rights wins from the Supreme Court just the day before. That evening, I saw the post on her Facebook from her husband letting everyone know she'd passed that afternoon. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I must have scrolled back a half dozen times to reread it thinking I must have read the name wrong. For a moment, I had no idea what had happened. Then our conversation at our last Hamlet lunch hauntingly came back to me.

Those random things that happen in my day that make me think of her still pop in my mind. Then I remember she's gone. I never realized what an impact she made on me. I was selfish for not taking what she told me that day more seriously, all because of my usual naive notion that not dealing with it somehow makes it not real.

And as I pick out my outfit for tomorrow, it still doesn't seem real. I miss you already.

  • Current Mood
    sad sad
  • Tags
gay flag

Vote - Los Angeles, California - Nov 2, 2010

I really should start doing this sooner.

I've gone through my ballot and have chosen how I'm voting tomorrow (in the off chance someone might care). A prerequisite to how I vote is a candidate's position on LGBT equality. Any candidate who doesn't support basic, fundamental civil rights clearly is a complete and total moron as far as I'm concerned and unfit to govern (he/she might try running for office where such views are considered normal... say, in Iran).

Anywho here is how I'm voting tomorrow!

Governor - Jerry Brown. Whitman has stated point blank that she would use her position to defend Prop 8. If that isn't enough to dissuade you, she couldn't even be bothered to vote for over 20 years. Let her buy some other state.

Lt Governor - Gavin Newsom (guy is hot, and Lt Governor doesn't really do anything - might as well vote for the guy who isn't bad to look at... amirite??)

Sec of State - Debra Bowen. The Republican alternative has described himself as being "conservative on social issues." 'nuff said.

Controller - Democrat John Chiang. The Republican alternative has publicly stated his opposition to gay marriage.

Treasurer - Democrat Bill Lockyer. I've never had a reason to vote against him. The GOP candidate is known to be rather anti-hispanic.

Attorney General - A key election. Kamala Harris is the best choice here. Republican Cooley has criticized Schwarzenegger for not defending prop 8, and has pledged to defend prop 8 if he's elected.

Insurance Commissioner - Dave Jones

State Bd of Equalization, District 4 - Jerome Horton

US Senator - Barbara Boxer. No choice here. Fiorina is a proud anti-gay, prop 8-supporting bigot. The smug billionaire will set LGBT rights back 20 years if she's elected.

US Representative, 30th District - Henry Waxman. The GOP alternative Wilkerson is against gays in the military and is so radical he doesn't even support stem cell research.

State Assembly, 42nd District - Mike Feuer. I couldn't find much on this election, but anti-choice extremists HATE Feuer, so he must be good.

Supreme Court Justices:
Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye - YES (moderate Republican, has presided over gay marriages)
Ming Chin - NO (voted to ban gay marriage)
Carlos Moreno - YES (supporter of gay marriage)

Court of Appeals:
Robert Mallano - YES
Victoria G. Chaney - NO (couldn't find anything specific on her, but she's supported by bigoted organizations opposed to equality)
Jeffrey Johnson - YES (vehemently opposed by anti-gay groups)
Judith Ashmann - YES (opposed by anti-gay bigots)
Walter Croskey - YES (opposed by anti-gay groups)
Steven Suzukawa - NO (supported by anti-gay groups)
Orville "Jack" Armstrong - NO (supported by anti gay groups)
Paul H. Coffee - YES (couldn't find anything specific, but he is opposed by conservative groups, so I'm erring on the side of caution and supporting him)
Steven Perren - YES YES YES (strongly opposed by anti-gay bigots; he must be awesome)
Laurie Zelon - YES (opposed by anti-gay groups)
Frank Jackson - NO (supported by anti-gay groups)
Tricia Bigelow - NO (could go either way here, but was supported by anti-gay groups, so I'm voting no)
Elizabeth Annette Grimes - NO (supported by anti-gay groups)

Judge of Superior Court:
Office 28 - Randy Hammock - Republican supported by LGBT lawyers
Office 117 - Alan Schneider - supported by LA Times and various other groups I tend to trust
Office 136 - Amy Hogue

Superintendent of Public Instruction - Tom Torlakson (supports gay marriage)
County Assessor - John Noguez (gay candidate)

Prop 19 - YES
Prop 20 - NO
Prop 21 - NO
Prop 22 - NO
Prop 23 - NO (dangerous, disingenuous prop would set back our clean air legislation)
Prop 24 - NO
Prop 25 - YES
Prop 26 - NO
Prop 27 - YES

(using an old userpic... seems appropriate, and falls on the right date again!)

Damn you, Facebook

I read my f-list all the way back to 8/8. Instead of witty or poignant comments, all I could find myself doing is looking for the "Like" button.

Damn you, Fbook. Damn you and all the evil you have wrought!

  • Current Mood
    giggly giggly

when i close my eyes and drift away

it's so fucked up that i can remember so vividly the first time i saw him... that stupid, ugly p coat he was wearing in the airport; his eyes; the way he smelled; everything about him. i can still tell you the day he was born, and could probably still find by sight the exit off the 118 to his mom's house—past that del taco.

it's been over 10 years, and, despite my best efforts, despite wanting to so badly, i haven't ever remembered anyone that way again.

sometimes, i really think it broke me.

  • Current Music
    Boys Like Girls - Two Is Better Than One

Big Gay Boat Redux

sung to the tune of My Christmas List
(with my apologies to Simple Plan)

Atlantis is coming tonight
I want the pool bar, and I want a life
And I want a First Class Trip to Miami
I want a lifetime supply
Of Brazilians, Latinos, Oh my!
I want some C-IN2s to show off my junk
Just give me everything I need!

'Cuz now it's Cruisemas
And I want hot guys
I just can't wait
It's Cruisemas
So don't stop drinking
I want three thousand guys, that's right!
Don't forget my Cruisemas List tonight
'Cuz now it's Cruisemas

Somebody take me away
Or give me a time machine
To take me straight to Sunday
I'll be all right

I want a boy in my bed
Who know what to do
Or maybe two more
I want to see big penis
On Deck thirteen
Just bring me boys in speedos I need

I wish I could take this week
And make it last forever
And no matter what i get tonight
I'll want more

It's Cruisemas and I want everything
I just can't wait
It's Cruisemas and I want everything now

It's Cruisemas
And I want every guy
I just can't wait
It's Cruisemas
So don't stop drinking, I
Want 3000 guys
That's right
And I can't wait 'til Sunday
Don't forget my Cruisemas List tonight
'Cuz now it's Cruisemas

...later bitches!


Two Days In The Nexus: My Review of the Nexus One

Nexus One Review

I've been working with my Nexus One since receiving it Wednesday morning. I can honestly say I have been very surprised. After reading the reviews, I expected to be underwhelmed (and returning it within the 30 day window).

Fortunately (or unfortunately for my wallet), I've fallen in love with my new toy, and here's why:

The Quick Summary
In my opinion, the Nexus One is truly game changing for Android. Unlike its geeky, awkward, and slightly retarded (yet lovable) G1 cousin, it's an awesome, responsive, and sexy phone. I'm not going to call it the "iPhone killer." I find that whole concept to be tenuous, and it makes me stabby every time I read it. The iPhone isn't going anywhere, no more than Samsung is. It's a market, and this is called competition. Competition is healthy, and needs are subjective. Being someone who changes phones as often as his underwear, I'm going to tell you my experience with the phone, and you can draw your own conclusions based on your needs, likes, and wants.

While my G1 filled my geeky little soul with delight for what it could do (and, more to the point, didn't stop me from doing), using it was often frustrating, often causing me to be tempted to pop my SIM card back in my iPhone, give into the Reality Distortion Field, and drink my Kool-Aid. I loved the freedom of the G1, but going back to my iPhone would remind me of the polish it was oh so sorely painfully lacking.

That's changed.

I think I may be ready to hang out in The Nexus for a bit (and maybe go for a hike with Captains Picard and Kirk).

Nexus OneNexus One Design
I've been a fan of HTC's products (from a feature standpoint), but the looks of their phones have always left something to be desired. The Nexus One is sleek, solid, and eye catching. Design is subjective, so I'll stop there; but I like the looks of this thing.

The N1 is fast. Granted, I've only been using it two days now, but I've already loaded it up with all the apps that were bringing my poor G1 to a snail's pace: email IMAP checking two accounts, contact/calendar syncing, Exchange push email (new), Facebook, Seesmic (Twitter), and Loopt constantly updating my location. The animated wallpaper has yet to even so much as hesitate.

The 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU powering this thing is so far doing the job and doing it extremely well.

Size and Form Factor
Sleek, light, comfortable to fit in my pocket without driving me crazy. For comparison, it's 5-6 grams lighter than the iPhone, 29 grams lighter than the G1, and 10 grams heavier than the HTC Dash. I've never carried a Blackberry, so I have no comparisons for you there.

OLED Display Screen
The screen is nice (and big). For size, it's bigger than both the G1 and the iPhone's screens. The OLED screen looks really sharp, and being OLED, it's easier on your battery.

It has a photo sensor that the OS can use to adjust the screen brightness automatically (a feature I've missed). I do find the setting it picks often to be a bit dimmer than I'd like, and there's currently no way to set a base level. You can turn the feature off altogether, but then you're back to manual adjustments. I've opted to let it do it for me, but hopefully Google will add a feature that lets you adjust it up or down.

The one thing that does drive me a little insane are the finger prints though. This thing lights up fingerprints better than Superglue vapor in bright light. It may just show them off more, or it might still be some residue from the protective cover it ships with, but I find myself wiping it off every couple of times I use it (there's a pill for that).

If this phone had a magic slide out keyboard, I would totally marry it on the spot. The soft keyboard option on the G1 drove me absolutely batshit insane. The G1's screen just didn't seem sensitive enough, and the predictive input just wasn't up to par with the soft keyboard I was used to on the iPhone.

As such, I expected to hate the soft keyboard. Even though I'm adept at using it on my old iPhone, for cranking out long emails or text messages without errors, you need a real keyboard. That said, the soft keyboard seems much improved. I don't know if Google's updated any of the algorithms or if it's just the larger and more responsive screen, but it's not driving me crazy (yet). Time will tell.

I don't want this to be another of those annoying iPhone vs. XYZ phone reviews, but since it's so far the only soft keyboard I've found usable, it's hard not to. The Nexus One's may just take getting used to, but I'd say the iPhone's soft keyboard still has an advantage at this time. Of course, the one beauty of soft keyboards is they can be improved in software.

Battery Life
I can sum up battery life as so far, so good; but this is something that will take time to flesh out. Off hand, it seems to be much better than my G1. I could drain the battery on my iPhone pretty fast as well though, so I'm not sure how my usage compares. So far I've been pleased, but I will be picking up a spare battery for times I'll be away from a charger for a long period of time. The charging port, btw, is a standard microUSB port (not to be confused with miniUSB port most devices have)—still a standard nonetheless.

Amazingly Wicked Cool Shit

Now for the fun stuff.

Integrated VoIP
Google has really done some really head turning stuff with this phone. The Google Voice integration is almost flawless. Regrettably, I like my mobile number better than my GV one, so I'm probably not replacing my main number anytime soon, but the option is there. There is, however, the option to only use Google Voice for dialing internationally. At a Wi-Fi connection, this means making cheap VoIP calls the same way you'd place any other call!

Voice mail redefined
The really sick feature that I love showing off is the ability to use Google Voice in place of your carrier's voice mail (not sure if this will work for CDMA carriers like Verizon). With a few presses, the Nexus will send the appropriate codes to reconfigure your settings with your cell carrier.

Now, when you receive a voicemail, Google transcribes the message and sends the transcription, along with the actual message to your phone! Clicking the voice mail button brings up a Visual Voice mail type screen that will let you read your message or play it back. If you do choose to play it back, it highlights each word as it's spoken (it's like karaoke without the cheesy backdrops).

(placeholder for video if i can manage to capture it)

The contact/address book functionality is much improved, and you can see where they're taking it: fulling integrated contacts. I expect future updates to continue to this trend. You still get the benefit of everything syncing with your Google Account in the cloud, and now clicking on a contact will not only show you their info, but also their Facebook status, as well as the option to call, email, text, or IM them. The new Facebook app will also sync your friends' profile pictures for contacts that don't have one.

The ability to speak your text messages and emails to your phone (instead of having to type), is sweet (still needs some work for me, but does a pretty good job). The turn-by-turn navigation is of course still there, as well as stereo bluetooth, 5 megapixel camera, LED flash, and now Bluetooth file transfers using OBEX and OPP (FINALLY).

Exchange Support
I was able to easily setup my Exchange email into the mail app—without giving up the rights to my phone to the Exchange mother ship. This will probably keep it from getting IT's blessing, but it does make me feel a little better.

Not wanting to know the Facebook status of all 500+ employees at my company, I opted not to sync the address book. I got the impression it would merge them with my address book instead of keeping it separate. Someone please correct me if I'm mistaken, but I don't want that cleanup job, so I'm not going to be the guinea pig.

Calendar support is still nonexistent. I suspect when (if) Exchange calendar support comes, it will sync straight to Google Calendar as opposed to the phone (which effectively will accomplish the same thing). In the meantime, I will continue to have gSyncit update my calendar from Outlook instead (best $15 you'll ever spend, by the way).

What's Lacking
A cool music player interface: The stereo Bluetooth, as well as the sound itself, is great. It comes with a set of wired headphones (and mic), or you can break out your old iPhone headsets too (they're compatible). It's clear there hasn't been a lot of time spent updating the UI. Fortunately, if Google doesn't do it, someone else undoubtedly will (fortunately, Google isn't afraid of a little competition and won't reject an app for "duplicate functionality.").

Multi-touch: Both the device and Android support multi-touch, but Apple seems to think it has a patent on your fingers. It will no doubt come, but it might only be after we put an end to all the rampant patent abuse stifling innovation.

iTunes support: Of course, official support will never happen, but if someone can break the code to allow me to easily sync my playlists, that will be an awesome day.

The web is certainly filled with reviews written by psychotic overzealous fanboys of one OS over the other, so I'm trying to present my honest opinion of the phone's strengths and weaknesses. I will say I do have a bias towards open source (lest we want to be beholden to one behemoth monopoly), so I do want to make this work. Nonetheless, I'm super critical of my gadgets (particularly my mobile), and going to say when I hate something. Coming from a G1, I'm still in a bit of afterglow having been a bit blown away by the Nexus. I'll try to post updates after the honeymoon is over, but if I don't want to throw it out a window over the next few days, I think the days of popping my SIM into my old iPhone so often may actually be over.

In short, if you're looking to find an alternative to AT&T or just don't want to have to keep chasing Apple around to whatever carrier it decides to bestow its prized jewel upon year after year, I would definitely recommend trying the Nexus on for the 14 days (30 for those of us in California). I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, but of course YMMV.


Modern Warfare 2 - Missing a head

I picked up my Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2 promptly at midnight last night. It was pretty crazy: Infinity Ward had a tank, a humvee, and a line that wrapped around the block. After freezing my ass off for an hour, I got my precious—which I played on Veteran until 5 in the morning when I thought it might be good to get 3 hours sleep before work.

The game is simply fraking AWESOME. I didn't know if Infinity Ward could outdo Call of Duty 4, but this is as good or better.

I was so stoked to be playing, it was totally lost on me that there was something wrong with my prestige edition. I thought I was the only one unlucky enough to end up without a complete Soap head. , but I've seen a couple things online suggesting a few other people may have had that problem. In my case, I had two left halves of Soap's head and was missing the right half.

I brought mine back to Best Buy the moment they opened this morning, but not before I'd already emailed and called Jakks (the company that made the bust and night vision goggles for Activision) to ask what to do, since I wasn't sure if Best Buy would have a replacement (the prestige editions are sold out, from what I understand).

Anyway, Best Buy took care of my problem, but the folks at Jakks were super friendly. The lady on the phone promptly called me back, and I've already gotten a response from them via email:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Modern Warfare 2 Prestige TWO LEFT HEADS!
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 14:53:38 -0800
From: Carlos ** **** <*******>
To: <david@>

Thank you for contacting Consumer Relations

We are in the process of ordering the face halves, but we will be able to send you the parts that you need. If you can please verify which half you need, as if you were the mannequin, ie if you were looking at the back of it’s head. Also please forward me your mailing address, and a contact phone number. We will contact you as soon as we receive and send out the replacements.

Thank you,
Carlos ** ****
Consumer Relations
21749 Baker Parkway Industry CA 91789

The email address I wrote to them was at consumer (at), in case any of you had the same problem.

Modern Warfare 2 + Jack in the Box + Monster

Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition Night Vision Goggles