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small purple square Making the scene up in Palo Alto last night I encountered Oxford University a couple times; he was sporting a large boombox and a white tophat instead of the previous med student props, and he wanted to have coffee with me but I was elusive and faded into the University Avenue crowds. <1> We'll talk more soon I'm sure. Most of my time up there was spent inside Borders reading up about asthma - one book detailed some unconventional treatments, among those described was "urine injection", which was not recommended. Earlier in the day I saw a pulmonology specialist at the Stanford Clinic who wasn't all that enlightening - they did a spirometer test to measure my lung capacity, which is fine - essentially they merely confirmed that yes, I have asthma and I'd be better off increasing the dosage and following the schedule of my cortisone medication schedule rigorously, but it's difficult since unlike the beta-adrenergics (my trusty albuterol) it helps in the long run but doesn't give instant relief from the wheezing. During the lung testing I had with the technician what's becoming a standard dialogue - when I encounter long-time residents up here and they learn that I lived in SoCal for seven years, they ask which I like better - they're hoping for and expecting reinforcement of their NoCal chauvinism, which I disappoint with my declaration that to me no difference - sure, there's redwoods up north, and more palm trees down south, but it's all the California paradise (when pressed, I still prefer the Southland - better airport and broadcast media, and it's easier to get around there <2>).

small orange square From The Practical Nomad:

Beware: The standard of luxury in Third World buses has become the video bus on which passengers are entertained by continuous high-volume, low-fidelity bootleg videotapes of local pop music videos, movies and TV shows. The novelty of formulaic Bollywood musicals, Hong Kong shoot-'em-up thrillers, Mexican soap operas, reruns of old US cops-and-robbers TV shows, American professional wrestling and imitations of the MTV look by local rock stars, with commentary dubbed into the local language, wears off quite early in your first day or night on such a bus. Video buses are symptoms and vectors alike of the cultural imperialism of US television.
Sound like fun? Having spent my share of days aboard the Greyhound (thankfully, not in decades) I must insist that this is no improvement. But you knew I'd say that.

small violet square Driving through the City today en route to a rendezvous with T, I paused first for tasty teriyaki at a Japanese restaurant called "Micado", thence to "Amoeba" where I finally found a reasonably priced copy of the new Murmurs CD. Has the potential to be a major hit, this "La Di Da", (hope it doesn't become stale through over-exposure) - a reason I like it so is because it's a "running song", one of those rare tunes with a tempo which match exactly my treadmill pace, so it goes onto one of my aerobic walkman tapes. One of the two Murmurs is k.d. lang's "partner", hence the slick production sound, and the disk itself is one of those devoid of any text - its non-data (upper) surface is entirely a fuzzy magenta gingham pattern. In fact the whole package is a little too feminine - the jewel case is made of translucent pink plastic. I traded in four CDs for this and the soundtrack to "Edward Scissorhands" - it was new but the Murmurs was used, already? It's only been out twenty days!

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<1>Noticing the ever-present pencil protruding from my shirt pocket, he asked "How big is the eraserhead on your pencil?" (I discussed "Eraserhead" here.)

<2>Yes San Francisco itself is unique and wonderful, but who can actually manage living in the City? I'm still a tourist there, except it's an hour drive instead of a multi-hour flight. Worse, it's often just an annoying traffic bottleneck/gauntlet I pass through as swiftly as possible.