Thanks a lot, cheese lady

It’s official — I’ve moved to San Francisco — and weird things are happening already. I went into a high-end cheese shop in Noe Valley and asked the woman behind the counter if she had any good-quality fresh-made ricotta cheese. She said, “Absolutely,” and reached into the fridge. She pulled out a huge tub of ricotta cheese. “You would really like this stuff,” she said, smiling, as she dipped a tasting spoon into the cheese and skimmed off a delicous looking sample. And then, instead of handing it to me — she ate it herself!! “Ahh,” she said. “That was really good. You should try it sometime.” Also, when I was in the Haight, I said hello to someone I recognized. She did not remember me — and, on top of that, I knocked over a container of organic strawberries, which spilled all over the filthy street. Trying to cover…

Bad barber

I just discovered that the aforementioned barber left a small, lightning-shaped dent (a tribute to Harry Potter?) in my hair. I also discovered a bunch of wasps hanging out under my car on two separate occasions. I’m worried that there’s a wasp’s nest growing deep inside the chassis of my car. More later.

Tales from Cupertino part two: My shapely hair

Yesterday I went to a neighborhood barbershop in Cupertino. These days, barbers don’t need a whole lot of instruction or advice when it comes to my hair. I tell them, “Use a one and a half on the sides and a two on the top.” They scalp me every couple of weeks. Anyhow, the female barber took out the clipper and was buzzing away at my skull. She stopped, looked at me through the mirror and said, “You don’t have a lot of hair, but the hair that you do have is shapely. Your hair has a good shape.” I just thought I’d pass that along. Next time you see me, make sure to compliment me on my shapely hair.

Professor Diddy: the origins of a nickname

I’m not quite sure how this happened. Some of the students in one of my comp classes at San Jose State University call me Professor Diddy. HOw on earth did I get such a nickname? I must admit, it’s my fault entirely. Here (I think) is what happened: A couple of my students were trying to figure out what to call me in class. They threw out a whole bunch of possibilities. “Dan.” “Mr. Dan.””Professor Dan,” “Mr. White.” “Professor White.” I could have chosen any one of those options and it would have been just fine. The problem is, I overthought the situation. “Mister White” sounded a little too much like a hated PE teacher, while “Dan” sounded too informal. I didn’t like “Professor Dan” because it sounded a bit too much like “Ranger Rick.” I’m a lecturer, technically speaking, but “Lecturer White” sounds weird to me, like a character…

Songs from the 80s I want to forget

I kind of stole the inspiration for this entry from a conversation I had last night in SF. Anyhow, it’s strange for me to hear about 80s ‘nostalgia’ parties and hear ‘flashback’ weekends highlighting the songs of my adolescence. I’m wondering if anyone in my age group remembers (with a shudder) the following ditties that tormented me on KROQ during my teenage years. I’m talking about the kind of songs that had me in a mad rush to change the dial, even when I was hurtling down the 405 freeway at 85 miles an hour. “Shanoo, Shanoo” by Haysi Fantayzee “I Eat Cannibals” by Total Coelo. “Pepperoni Ice Cream” by Killer P …. “Oh! My Janitor” by Suburban Lawns. “Slang Teacher” by Wide Boy Awake. “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” by Jermaine Stuart. “Rappin’ Duke” by John Wayne. “P-A-J-A, Pajama Party!” by (I couldn’t remember the name…

Willing to live in a storage facility

(I accidentally deleted the second half of this blog entry; here’s the restored version from some years back.) That might be the best way to go. I would just move the lawnmower out of the way and set up my sleeping bag and Therma-Rest. This is a tough market. San Francisco — way too expensive. East Bay — it’s the Brooklyn of the west, but it’s too far away (one of my colleagues says it took him two hours and fifteen minutes to get to campus yesterday!) and about to become very expensive. Santa Cruz — you’ve got to deal with Highway 17 and the fact that there aren’t jobs. I’ve never done the ‘blind dating’ or internet dating thing but it must be similar to this. The advertisements on Craiglist are always quite different from the reality (i.e. crackhouse by the beach, scary apartments, etc.) I’ll keep you posted…

Leg in holding pattern

Three days after the hornet situation, my leg now looks like a leg again. I’ll keep everyone posted. I’m learning that I have extreme reactions to insects as well as venomous plants, especially poison oak. The weird thing is, yellowjackets, poison oak, and most of my other enemies, are not “non-native invasive” species. They are all “natural” and native to California.

More on hornets …

It’s not just that I’m very allergic to hornets. They also, for some reason, find me attractive. They swarm all over me — and instead of just flying around me in an exploratory way, the hornets usually sting me without provocation. Anyhow, my leg still looks weird but I think the situation is under control. However, I am going to be a bit gun-shy about hiking for a while. I might start hiking with a thick, full-body raincoat or a suit of protective mesh.

Hornets — nasty little beasties.

I have a fraught relationship with nature — and my trip last weekend to Point Reyes reminded me of this. It was beautiful there — fogbound, lots of deer, the rolling Marin Headlands, egrets and herons everywhere. And then, in the middle of a trek, I somehow disturbed a wasp’s nest. A bunch of them descended on me. I was stung about four times — and I had some sort of nasty histimine reaction, causing my ankle (and, really, my entire left leg) to swell up to frightening proportions. Still recovering from this. Keep a close watch for these nasty little beasties. (They are ruthless.)