Archive for July, 2010

Practicing Restraint Email of the Day

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

“i got into the shower this morning and said, im not going to wash my hair because its not dirty but ill need a headband.  and oh great i have one now that i hid one in my jewelry drawer from Alex.  but this morning when i went to go get it, it was gone.

did you take BOTH headbands back to SF with you?  i was very angry this morning and almost called you, but instead i am now writing you this email.  im just letting you know that i will be stealing one of the headbands BACK.  see you tomorrow.” SESweet

whoops. ma bad.

Pa Sweet, Panic Attacks, Champagne

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Guess what? Pa Sweet and SarahSweet are coming to the San Francisco tomorrow. I know. I didn’t believe it and then my dad called and asked what the weather was going to be like for the weekend and I told him to wear closed-toe shoes. Tomorrow we are going to a fancy restaurant. So fancy that they called me two days in advance to confirm the reservation. I think I will drink a bucket of champagne. That sounds like the fancy thing to do.

In other news my boss is out for the week which sometimes makes me panic. I am furiously writing up a draft of my report to show him next week and sometimes I will write great things about public space and sidewalks and the pedestrian user experience and then I space out and brainstorm report titles: Widen the Sidewalks, Jan Gehl Said So: A report on the pedestrian experience of North Beach

Today Britney and I had lunch in the atrium and we talked about cars and I said I was going to get zip car and she what’s that? And I said it’s when you don’t own a car. She was confused. I asked if she wanted to practice our report presentations before the big day when we have to stand in front of the ENTIRE PLANNING DEPARTMENT and talk about our research projects. I get panic attacks just thinking about it. I will have to slam a bucket of champagne before my presentation and get up there and maybe make an audio voice over and lip-sync the whole thing so people can’t hear my voice shaking. Or maybe I”ll invite all of my 80 year old sicilian body guards and they’ll sit in the front row with espressos and I’ll feel at home.

Huh, I haven’t been to North Beach in a week. I knew something felt off.


I also just found an email from the fancy restaurant that said This is a reminder that you have an upcoming reservation at the fanciest restaurant in the world. Then right below that it said: Need a limo? Call for a reservation today.

A bicycle limo? Dad?

Clap your hands say yaaaay

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Sometimes when I’m at work I forget where I am and then I have to look something up for my report about bike lanes and first I go to the internet by habit but then I think maybe I should just search on my computer and so I search for bike lanes and then get the results and realize that I have access to the official San Francisco Bicycle Plan and all of its drafts and amendments and policies from the past ten years and then I get really giddy and stand up in my cubicle and clap quietly and whisper shout yaaaay!!! Does this happen to other people in the office or does the fairy dust wear off after the first three months?


Monday, July 26th, 2010

Alright I went to the Chicago this weekend and I am tired to quite tired and I don’t have a lot of time so I’m going to link to my flickr album and then you can see all the great friendship, dinner, platonic pal time I had. It made me really happy.

The album is called July 24th, 2010: A dinner, a wedding, a splinter.

Tears are Full of Feelings

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

“I love to cry. I cry whenever I can.” The Health Benefits of Tears

The Future Weekends Look Good

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Know what’s really weird? I haven’t taken/posted photos in months. Is this how real life is? Like I’m so busy workings and making the moneys and buying the groceries and riding the mercedes that I forget to take the photos of my food plates and put them on the internet? The good news is Pa Sweet and SarahSweet are coming to the SF next weekend. I asked my dad if he wanted to rent bikes and he replied, Ummmmmmmmm. So instead I made reservations at three restaurants. Which means 9 food plate photo opps in one weekend WOWOWOWOWOW GET AMPED!

Also, in other food plate news, I am going home to the Chicagogo this weekend to attend a wedding with Grandpa Lou. This Saturday I went to the Macy’s and tried on one thousand dresses and almost bought three but then bought just one and it is green. Like money.

I’m taking a midnight flight to Chicago on Thursday. Today in our citywide planning meeting our citywide boss told us he would take us out for drinks on Thursday to celebrate something that happened before I arrived and my design boss turned and said when is your flight and I said midnight and he said perfect you can be drunk and I said That’s my favorite! which may or may have been an appropriate response but it is the truth and i cannatellalie.

The point is, on Friday night Lydia and Tim are coming over to Ma Sweet’s house for dinner. omg I just got really excited. Now I won’t be able to fall asleep. It’s like 8 days of Hanukkah packed into one weekend of happy friendship land.


Monday, July 19th, 2010

Today I took the Novelty Bike to the bike shop and I walked in and said hello bicycle man can you fix my mercedes cadillac? And he said yes I can. Then I left it overnight in the bicycle hospital. Then I went to the SF Planning Dept Citywide meeting where all the Citywide planners meet in the conference room and talk about important city planning things and my boss told everyone I will be giving a presentation about North Beach during the week of August 16th and then a Deptartment wide presentation three days later and inside I was having a panic attack but on the outside I said Yes there will be photos and graphs it will be great.

Then I took the public transit to the North Beach and stood outside and asked people to take my street survey for the planning department and 55 people in a row said no. Strangely it did not hurt my confidence intervals. I don’t know what happened. I just walked across the street and tried out the other side. One guy wanted to talk about the trollies and I lied and said ok but you have to take this survey first and then he forgot about the trollies. Sneaky. Then I ate 3 salt water taffies.

My internship is over in a month. I hope they let me take home the SF Zoning Poster that’s hanging in my cubicle.


Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Ok, in response to recent comments, I am uploading some photos. I do not have photos of my 80 year old sicilian body guards. We haven’t gotten to that point in our friendship. Nor have I take photos of their food plates.

Here is a photo of their cafe. (They might be sitting behind the people standing)
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Here is a photo of my valet friend.
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Here is a photo of the street I am studying. (How does this street make you feel?)
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

The end.


Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Yesterday in North Beach I ran into my friend Sidney who has an MBA and drives the mercedes and tells everyone I’m going to raise the parking meter rates. I walked up to my spot on the sidewalk to start my interviews and he was right in front of me, sitting in his car. He rolled down the window and said Alex c’mere c’mere. So I walked over and he had a man sitting next to him and he said Alex this is Eli he is 80 years old and speaks 15 languages and Eli shook my hand and smiled and said Let me take you to lunch next Friday. I politely declined and said Sorry I’ll be in Chicago and he said, That’s what they all say! And we laughed and then Eli got out of the car and left and Sidney said, Want some gum? And I said ok. Then I said Hey let me ask you question and he said Go ahead and I nodded towards the restaurant next door where I had been interrogated the night before and I said, How do you feel about that restaurant? And he said, I don’t like it. I think something fishy is going on there. And I said, Ya I think so too. Then he handed me a stick of gum and I said thanks and he said, hey, why don’t you have the whole pack.

It makes me feel better. Even if my body guards are all 80 year old Sicilians.

Listen Alexandra ok here’s the thing

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Today started out just fine. I went into work and wrote a letter to the future 2011 summer intern about how to interview people on the street. (Look professional, smile, listen more, talk less). Then my boss came to my cubicle and I showed him some graphs and he was impressed with my work and nodded a lot and said the final report would be on the internet and I said with an introduction by the mayor?? and he said oh no we weren’t going to do that this year for this reason and that reason and I said oh and was clearly disappointed and he said but there will be a press release and then you can get interviews and I said, Yay and then I can be famous! Then I biked to North Beach to interview more pedestrians on the street and I ran into my friend Lewis and we talked about Ralph Nader and then I waved to my friend Mario who was eating dinner with Antonio and then I went to Cafe Greco and ordered a steamed milk with almond and the waiter said good choice alexandra and then I interviewed someone from Telluride Colorado on the condition that I would tell him where to get pizza afterward (golden boy pizza the place with the neon hand sign). Then a short Italian man comes out and interrupts my next interview and says Are you writing a book or something and I say no but I can interview you later if you like. Clearly he was belligerent and he said we want to talk to you and pointed next door. I ignored him. Then he came out a second time and said, I thought I told you we wanted to talk to you. Then he brings me to the restaurant next door through the kitchen and turns on a light in a back room and pulls up a chair and two other Italian men come in and they close the door.

omg is this how it all ends?

They circle me and lean forward and stare at my name badge and nod at it and say, what are you doing here? And I try to be perky and naive and tell them I am counting people on the street I am neutral I just want everyone to be happy. They fold their hands and they start telling me that business is not fair and that other people are getting special treatment from the planning department and what could I do about it? I don’t know. Listen, they say, Listen Alexandra, here’s the thing, ok, this guy gets away with this and we get fined. Is that fair? What can you do about this? I tell them I don’t know what I can do, I’m just the intern. They say well we know about your plans to make that guys parking spaces into a park and if we don’t get some answers there is going to be some serious trouble, ok? we just want everyone to play fair. Then one guy leaves and comes back and hands me a glass and i think I WILL BE POISONED but he pours me sparkling water and then the short belligerent mans keeps grabbing my arm and throwing his hands in the air while the other two Italian men cross their legs, lean back and nod a lot. They talk quietly and learn forward and touch my arm and say things like, Listen Alexandra ok here’s the thing… I don’t know how long the interrogation went on but suddenly it was over and we all shook hands and I didn’t know what to say so I just said Thank you so much and then I was out on the street and it was 11 oclock at night and I went to the bar on the corner and got a beer and stared ahead for approximately 2 minutes before a man sat down next to me and looked at my clipboard and saw the Planning Dept sticker and said, you work for the planning dept? And I nodded and said, Ya it’s an internship for school. And he said, Oh man what a great gig. Isn’t this place just the best?