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Monthly Archives: November 2005

It’s good to be home

Today marked my first day back in the city of San Francisco in almost exactly two months. It is amazing how much better it feels just to be in San Francisco, even if it was just for part of the day. After New York and Los Angeles, it is like a dream world.
I spent my time through lunch in the San Jose/Cupertino area. I visited what must be one of the most poorly designed malls in the world in Cupertino at lunch time. I was out doing some geocaching and one of the caches was in the mall parking lot. As I was looking for it, I discovered that there was a Todai in the mall, and since it was about time for lunch I deciced to eat there. Todai was right inside the mall, so after finishing all the sushi I could eat, I walked through the mall. Half of it is undergoing some severe reconstruction, and the other half it just plain stupidly designed. Parts of the mall have two levels, but other parts don’t. And some parts appear to have two levels, but it is just an illusion. The two ends of the mall aren’t at the same elevation, so in the center of the mall the floor is inclined. It was just ridiculous.
One thing that I did get a kick out of at the mall, though, was the Santa Claus setup they had. It appears that someone forgot to order a Santa’s village in time and that by the time they remembered all that was left was a Cinderella’s Castle. I wish I had taken a picture, but the background for Santa were these Disney Castle-esque spires. Since when has Santa lived in a castle like that? Since never, that’s when.
After finishing my horrible journey through the mall, I began to make my way up to San Francisco. I decided to take a scenic route as I was in no hurry to get to the city. So I took 280 to Highway 92 which took me into Half Moon Bay. I had never visited Half Moon Bay before. It is one of the cutest little towns! I stopped there and walked around for a little while before hopping back in the car and heading north to San Fran. From Half Moon Bay you take the CA-1 North which follows the coast line. It was such a clear and sunny day so the views over the ocean were simply amazing for almost the entire 28 mile drive.
My main reason for heading into the city was for the St. Dominic’s Young Adult Group meeting which I attended. It was so good to go back there and see all of my friends again. Many of them were surprised to see me. When I left there two months ago nobody – not even me – had any reason to expect I would be back so soon. It is amazing how much better it feels to be back here. I can’t wait until I actually get an apartment in the city. It’s good to be home.

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Starbucks is my hero

I love Starbucks, but I’m not addicted. Oh no, I can stop going anytime I want. I just don’t want to stop.
Starbucks has some brilliant marketing and financial minds at work, apparently. I mean, they must because most people wouldn’t just shell out $4 for a coffee. Let’s say you’re walking along the street and you stop by a street vendor for a cup of coffee. After pouring it for you, he hands it to you and says “$3.85 please.” You would likely throw the coffee at him and run away, arms flailing madly in the air from disgust at the price. But somehow, you walk into Starbucks and those prices on the menu don’t send you into psychotherapy for the rest of your life. Indeed, rather than require professional help, you find yourself strangely drawn to return time and time again until you have sampled every item on the menu atleast three times.
I have to admit, though, that the magical mystery minds at Starbucks have done a bang up job making me feel like they aren’t taking my money. I used to refuse to spend “real” money at Starbucks. Despite the deliciousness, I had a hard time taking cash and physically handing it over. So, I would only go when I could pay with Flex Points at Notre Dame or when someone had given me a Starbucks gift card. Either way, it was cash I never had, so may as well use it for a treat. Starbucks, I think, realized this, so they made it possible for me to never have to think about the fact that I am actually paying for things. They made it possible to “automatically reload” my Starbucks card. Everytime my balance falls below $10, it automatically reloads $20 more onto the card. This way, I never actually have to either pay cash, hand over a credit card or manually reload the card. This way, it’s like having an infinite amount of money on a gift card. Amazing.
On top of that, they lure people like me into their stores with the “T-Mobile HotSpot” service. Sometimes I am not in a place where I can get free internet access. Of course, being the tech-minded person that I am, I have signed up for T-Mobile HotSpot. It is only $20 a month and gets me access at most Starbucks, Kinko’s and Borders throughout the U.S. Of course, I can never go and just use the internet, I have to get a beverage… and sometimes maybe even a little pastry treat.
So, yes, Starbucks is my hero. They are the epitome of American capitalist success: desirable products at extremely inflated prices and a flase sense of economic stability with cross-promotions and lucrative partnerships. I love you, Starbucks.
But remember, I can quit anytime.

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Here and there and everywhere

As my friend Breana said to me last night, “man you are everywhere!” It is true, I am everywhere.
At the moment I am in San Jose visiting long-time family friend Jeanne Davies. She was first friends with my Grandma Al, but that friendship has been extended to the rest of the Johnson network.
The current plan of attack is to stay up here in San Jose for a while as I explore my options for the future. I have missed the Bay Area a great deal since I left and it already feels a lot better after being back up this way even for just a day. I haven’t even seen any of my San Francisco friends yet, but I did speak with Mike, Melissa and Ingrid on the phone last night. It was actually just coincidental that they called when they did. I had told Mike I was coming up, but hadn’t said exactly when, so he didn’t know when he called that I was a mere 50 miles south of him.
The atmosphere here in the Bay Area is totally different from that of Los Angeles or New York. I noticed it the moment I got off the freeway in San Jose. Whereas in LA you have to be in Bel Air or the Hollywood Hills to have decent looking places, even the most ghetto zone in this section of San Jose is still better than most of LA. I don’t know what it’s like closer to downtown San Jose, so maybe it gets bad that way, but out here, it’s great. You might think that this is a particularly upscale area of the city, but it really isn’t. It’s pretty standard. Most of the houses are small. Jeanne’s house is single story, 3 BR + 2 bath. It gets the job done.
Today I have to do a little bit of shopping for some suits, I think. I am planning on starting to interview for some possible positions up here in finance. Of course, I am wholly unprepared for that since that wasn’t really the plan when I left Salt Lake City. I have a really nice suit in Utah, but it is so nice I would rather not worry about it getting shipped out here. Instead I’m going to hit up the Men’s Wearhouse or a similar place. I am sitting outside Starbucks at a shopping mall here in San Jose at the moment. Inside is a men’s suit store that is having a sale – 3 suits for $299. I haven’t yet been inside to check the quality of said suits, but that might be a useful option for someone like me who needs something quickly.
I wish the sun were shining on me right now. I can’t really complain too much, though. It is the middle of November but I am still able to sit outside with a short-sleeved shirt on. But in the shade it is just a little on the cool side. If the sun were shining on me, it would be perfect. Of course, then I would probably have a little trouble seeing the computer screen, so maybe it’s best this way.
Well, if I am going to accomplish anything today, I should probably get to it.

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Say Yes is the new black

sayyes.jpg

This is a picture from my friends’ show on Saturday night at the Blue Moon Lounge. Pictured from left to right are Chris Scott on bass, frontman Ben Slease, and Trey Derbes on drums. Not pictured is Ben Roche on lead guitar (he would be far right in this picture if he were in it).

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Life goals 187 & 213

Life goals 187 & 213, check and check! And both in one night, amazing.
I went out tonight with some friends. Ben and CScott are members of a band called “SAY YES” and they played their first gig tonight at the Blue Moon Lounge in Glendale. Of course I went to support them. They went early to get settled, and I showed up about 45 minutes before they started their set. When I arrived, I was stoked because I knew I would be able to tell the bouncer, “It’s OK. I’m with the band.” Oh yah… that’s a classic line that I’ve been waiting years to use. So when the bouncer asked for ID when I wanted to go in, I threw that line out there to see how it would work. OK, well, maybe I didn’t actually say it, but I thought it, and that’s enough to check off life goal number 213: be able to tell the bouncer, “I’m with the band,” and not be lying.
After they finished their set (about 30 minutes) we headed to this happening bar in Hollywood called The Well. The line to get in was pretty long. I mean, by certain standards it wasn’t horribly long, but considering that I would never go to a bar where you had to wait in line just to get in, this was a long line. I would say there were probably 30-50 people in the line. I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the prospect of waiting in line… so I didn’t. CScott and I arrived together, saw a friend named Edie who told the bouncer to “take care of us” and in we went. That’s right, VIP access to The Well! As I was walking in in front of all the boring normal people waiting in the line I wanted to turn and laugh at them, but I decided that would be a less than stellar idea, so I refrained. But know that I was laughing on the inside… oh yes, there was internal laughter. And there goes life goal 187: getting into a club ahead of the stupid normal people because I am better than they are.
All in all it was a good night. I will post some pictures from their music set once they get the pictures off the digital camera. That should be by sometime on Sunday, I would expect.
Speaking of Sunday, I should get to bed. It’s almost 3 a.m. here in Los Angeles and I have to get up and drive to San Jose tomorrow. Yawn.

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Always bid $1, but never bid $1

If you are going to play “The Price is Right,” at the very least play smart. I think I should teach a course on how to increase your chances of getting off Contestants’ Row and up onto that oh-so-sought after game stage. This whole “class” idea is brilliant, but I’m going to give you some advice free of charge. If you play and win, don’t forget to mention me and my classes when you’re on stage with Bob! OK, HERE WE GO!

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I hate LA traffic

I am sitting in traffic at 2:42 p.m. In LA. I’m posting this from my car as I drive. My first-ever en route post.

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Here and there…

Hola!
I begin this entry with the Spanish word for “hello” in honor of Ryan Greenberg, whose own blog I have been woefully neglecting until today. Ryan is abroad in South American doing a service program called the Holy Cross Associates. In the highly unlikely event that you are reading this and don’t already read (or write) Ryan’s blog, you should check it out.
Those of you who pay attention to my “Current location” that I post on the main page will notice that it has been changed to “here and there.” As I type this, I am in Los Angeles, CA, but over the past two weeks I have been spotted in New York City, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and now Los Angeles. By next weekend, that list will likely be expanded to include Las Vegas, San Jose and San Francisco. For the curious, I am probably going to Las Vegas this weekend to celebrate a friends birthday. Similarly, another of my friends is having a birthday celebration in San Francisco, which I am hoping to attend. And as long as I’m in the Bay Area, why not swing by San Jose and say hello to long-time family friend Jeanne?
You might be wondering how the apartment hunt is going here in sunny Southern California. Well, it is going well and not so well. There is plenty of availability; however, some of the places are too expensive, some are to far away, some aren’t safe enough and some are with strange roommates. Not all of them are bad, though. Last night, for example, I saw a place that would have been phenomenal. But, if you don’t already know, I am considering the possibility of leaving Los Angeles and returning to San Francisco. Strange and a sudden departure? Absolutely.
In my most recent entry I indicated that I was feeling a little dissatisfied with the film industry. It isn’t at all that I don’t really enjoy the industry – I do – it is just that I don’t find that it leaves me enough time to enjoy life and do the things that I feel are truly important. It leaves me little to no time for community building or service work, the job itself isn’t “important,” and I am not challenged by the work.
I do love the industry, but I feel that this is not the way I am called to be a part of it. This is a change. I definitely felt this was what I wanted to do, but after leaving San Francisco I discovered that to me, I think community and service is more important in the long run. While this isn’t a final decision by any means, if I do decide to return to San Francisco, I don’t intend to fully depart from the industry and never look back. I still feel there are some important things that can be done. For example, in San Francisco, there is a media program for at-risk youth. They are currently looking for people to come in and teach a once-a-week course on digital moviemaking. I feel that something like that combines my love for movies with my passion for service. Will these kids create amazing art that will make a huge impact on the world of film? No, of course not. They’ll probably make pretty silly movies with bad acting and poor technique, but at least they’re having fun. That’s just a thought.

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