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small blue square No entry yesterday since my boss from New Jersey was in town, and I had to entertain (or, from his point of view, be entertained). He brought along the co-worker who's allergic to nuts; last night we all ate at the local Italian eatery called "Frankie and Johnnie and Luigi Too". It's a basic Italian restaurant, red&white checked tablecloths, not upscale like D's brother's place up in Marin County. Having heard they make good pizza, I ordered that and was disappointed - I wasn't served thin New York-style but the cheesy, doughy stuff many seem to favor - in fact my perception is the further one gets from Italy the greater the possibility of the pizza being lousy this way. I have found one acceptable establishment out here, however: "Giovanni's". Thin, potentially crispy, rich in tomato & garlic taste, and lacking those huge gobs of gooey mozzarella. The posters on their walls of the New York City skyline are a Good Sign, I guess. As for F&J&L's, everyone seemed to have a good time; since it was my choice I received compliments. In fact the group likes my restaurant recommendations, seems that I'm becoming the designated chooser. Given that the company's picking up the tab, next time I'll make a more extravagant suggestion.

small orange square The inevitable "slip" has occurred with the office move. My co-worker/supervisor and I are scheduled to be part of the "first wave" to evacuate our trailer-complex and relocate back to the "old building" (which the project moved away from before I joined). We were to move this Friday; now it won't happen for at least two weeks (troubles and disputes with the network wiring over there, apparently). Whatever happens we must be out of the trailers by Halloween; on November first their dismantling begins. But I'll be abroad starting mid-October, hence there's a very good chance that I'll miss the whole thing - that I'll box up my meager quantity of personal gear, and place the required labels on everything physical to be moved in our trailer (boxes, computers and modular furniture). We've agreed on a new layout: I crafted cut-outs from cardboard representing the components, which we moved around until an optimal setup evolved. But when I return to everything in our new (smaller) office, what I find could be anything ranging from just-as-imagined to totally haphazard.

small yellow square Started a new book called Tokyo Sketches by Pete Hamill, it's very good! From the dust-jacket verbiage I was expecting non-fictional anecdotes, descriptions of mid-1980s Tokyo and the author's experiences there then. Instead the short stories are quite interesting, with subtleties the less into-Japan wouldn't pick up on <1>. They contrast people from both here and there, and how Japan has changed since the war. To sustain that mood I had dinner tonight at one of the best Japanese restaurants I know in the area, "Tokyo Sushi" in Sunnyvale. Great decor and exceptional food; just slightly expensive. My sashimi was sliced thick, and their sushi is served "Edo"-style, much larger slabs than the norm. (When you pick one up, the overhang flops over, creating a double layer of fish around the rice.) Afterwards I took the elevated 237 freeway over to the Milpitas "Borders" to inspect some books mentioned in The Practical Nomad, but alas, they didn't have. In the lot outside I parked nose-to-nose with a pristine red '57 Chevy - as I walked along next to it my finger traced the chromed upper edge of its tailfin, the most tasteful ever designed, in my opinion.

small purple square Fresh tenants in the ground floor unit of my apartment building. They have an enormous new pickup truck, usually parked (without precision) in the space next to mine. A few times now I've been in close proximity to the young male (with very short ponytail) who hangs around the truck, smoking. (Perhaps cigarettes are forbidden inside by the female?) Fortunately no loud music has been evident - in fact no music or even television sound - strange. Do the truck payments eat up all spare cash, with none left over for entertainment appliances? I've tried to perform the requisite neighborly introduction, but they don't making eye contact. As a rule I find it impossible to start a conversation with someone who ignores me like that. Hostility, alienation, obliviousness; or perhaps it's just shyness.

small cyan square At the gym this morning I discovered that, of all things, Beck's "Loser" is a "running song" (one that matches my treadmill-jogging pace exactly).

Soy un perdedor
I'm a loser baby, so why doncha kill me?

Edo - archaic name for Tokyo
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<1>Example: An American visitor observes that a Japanese character's missing the last inch of a finger. Although not explained, this amputation is a typical punishment in the Yakuza (mafia).