Jun 26 2007

More Craigslist Fun

I posted another add on craigslist. Re-posted for your viewing pleasure.

Dinette Set: Table and Four Chairs – $20

I know what you’re thinking. Really, I do. And it’s not “$20 for a full dinette set? How can that be? This is a deal too good to be true!” No, what you’re thinking is, “Wow, that must be a really crappy dinette set.” And in a way, you’re right. It is a crappy dinette set, on the outside. Inside, it’s got a heart of pure gold. (Or fibrous lignum cut into planks, I’m not sure which.)

See? I’m not trying to pull anything over on you.

That said, it does it’s job, and it’s never complained. Without the inner leaf, it’s 42” inches square, 29” high. The inner leaf is 17”, which means fully expanded you’ve got a glorious 59” of dining expanse. Now, last time I ate out with my girlfriend, we spent over thirty bucks on breakfast. That’s ten dollars more than these table and chairs, and that breakfast didn’t even come with with anything to eat it on. Score one for the crappy dinette set. See, its beauty lies in its utility, not its looks.

That’s what I’m talking about. This dinette set is like the Terminator: very few words (aside from a snappy epithet, which is seldom audible); it just gets the job done. It’s a trooper.

But what makes this dinette set look so crappy? Well, first of all, just glance at it. It looks like it came out of a 1980’s time share condo. I imagine it used to share a room with one of those red-black-and-white “modern” minimalist illustrations of some chick wearing a V-shaped shoulder-padded jacket and stirrup pants, looking provocatively back over her shoulder. You know, like the ones you still see that haircut store that hasn’t updated it’s posters since before the New Kids on the Block. But then, who expects a soldier to be stylish? I don’t. They’ve got jobs to do.

Also, it’s a bit scuffed up. If you look carefully at the front of it, you can see a small black line between two of the horizontal supports – that’s because it’s not flush. Probably the result of some field trauma. (I don’t think Cheney’s war machine properly armored it, but that’s neither here nor there.) It could probably be hammered back into place, but I never felt the urge to do so, since it works just fine as is. Don’t fix what ain’t broke, as they say. And, since I’m leaving town, I need to transfer this bad boy to another unit. Don’t let this dinette become ronin. The last thing we want is the Blackwater division of Ethan Allen getting wind of his impressive record.

Looking for a throwback to the ’80s? Have a rental unit you don’t care about? Need a poker table for the garage? All are perfect roles for this grunt of a table. You’ll never worry about spilling beer on it, potting plants, or changing your grandson’s diaper on it. (Although the last has never happened, I’m sure it wouldn’t mind. All part of the job for this intrepid dinette set.)

You support our soldiers, right? Even if our foreign policy is totally fubar’d and you don’t think they should be there in the first place? Yeah, me too.

So buy this dinette set. If you can show me military ID, it’s free.

(You’ll need a truck. Point Loma / Loma Portal area)

Jun 18 2007

Expectations and Commitment

Last night I ran into a girl I haven’t seen in a while. We talked about significant others’, work, and life status in general. Eventually, she asked me where I my relationship with my girlfriend is going.

“Well, there you’re diving down the rabbit hole. You’re asking a question that, to understand my answer, requires you to view the world through my, perhaps skewed, philosophical perspective. Or I can give you the canned answer, but it won’t be as interesting.”

She attempts to cut me off at the pass: “So it sound like you don’t think it’s going to last?”

“Sounds like you don’t want the canned answer.”


“Then it’s not that easy. See, desires are driven by the ego. The ego gets you into trouble. Not achieving your desires gets you into trouble. You know the parable about the man who dreams he’s being attacked by a tiger, right? And he’s so scared in his nightmare that he wakes, sweating profusely with his heart racing? Well, the tiger wasn’t real, but induced completely real issues: he’s scared, sweating, and his heart is pounding.”

“You weren’t joking about about it being a philosophical question.”

“Nope. But stick with me. Although you asked about a ‘good thing’ – my relationship – and I gave you and example of a ‘bad thing’ – a nightmare – but at the core they have the same essence: desires. You could turn the parable around and say that the man’s desire to hold on to life is what created the vulnerability that causes him to worry about losing it in the first place. He was worried about losing something that he wasn’t even in danger of losing. On a smaller scale, our desire for things like a better job, TVs, a new car, etcetera – things we don’t even have – open these vulnerabilities. We start to worry and stress about losing things we don’t even have yet. Doesn’t that seem silly?”

“I suppose. But I don’t see how you can be with someone for nearly a year and not have expectation as to where it’s going.”

“That’s just the issue: expectations. I try not to have ‘expectations.’ As someone I respect very much recommended, I try to give thanks for those things that work out in my favor, but I try not to ‘expect’ them. Otherwise, I open myself to losing things I don’t even have. It’s like grasping for clouds – only through the act of attempting to own do you realize your failure. I give thanks for what I receive, but realize that tomorrow the world may change. Using the canonical example, what if I get hit by a bus tomorrow morning?”

“It sounds like an excuse not to get emotionally invested. You’re over thirty, right? Do you just want to bounce around to different girls; to be a gigolo for the rest of your life?”

“Ah, there you went from one end of the spectrum to the other: the expectations of interminable fairy-tale love, to the complete absence of it. The problem with both views, as I see it, it that both are static caricatures. No one is static; everyone’s always slowly but subtly changing. I think the relationships that end up going the distance are the ones where people evolve in similar or complementary directions, while some end because people evolve in incompatible directions. And that’s not to say that it’s someone’s ‘fault’, other than the prevalent mis-guided perception that everyone will be tomorrow who they are today. In fact, in the west, that’s frequently seen as a noble quality, while to me it seems quite absurd.”

“So now you’re indicting marriage?”

“No, not at all. Even I may get married some day. But I’m not operating under the assumption that it’s immutable. Just because you realize that there’s the possibility the world as you know it may change in an instant, doesn’t mean you don’t commit yourself completely to what you’re doing right now. In fact, it may even be an argument for working harder than ever, and not procrastinating. This recognition of flux isn’t a license for apathy. I definitely have goals that I strive for. But there difference is that I don’t expect to achieve them – I work my ass off to get there, and if I get there, I try to accept the results gracefully. If I don’t get there, I try to do the same.

“Most people don’t seem to be able to believe that one can work whole-heartedly toward a goal – say, a new job or a marriage – but at the same time not ‘expect’ to succeed. In the U.S., at least, it comes across sounding like ‘not believing in yourself’ – which is almost heretical to western ears – although I see it as something even stronger: I believe in myself, and I’m also aware of the world. The most prevalent western epithet I’ve heard that can capture some essence of this is the Serenity Prayer: ‘God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.’ So asking me to extrapolate where my relationship is going is a non-trivial question. I’m trying to let both her and myself evolve, and hopefully we evolve together. Make sense?”

“So your relationship has potential, right?”


Jun 16 2007

At Vons, Naturally


Actually, I think this concept has potentional. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to start munging photos again soon.

Jun 15 2007

Is This Really Good Advertising?


“We’ll fill you so full of holes that we’ll pierce through your stomach and colon; you’ll be dripping with the remains of this mornings soda water and urine!”

Mmm, that sounds healthy!

At least they have a sense of humor.