Monday, February 16, 2004

Valentine's day in San Francisco

Boing Boing pointed out this first-hand account of the marriage marathon currently in progress in San Francisco.

We walked around the side of the line and saw hundreds of same-sex couples in all states of dress (punk to tuxedo to family heirloom dress to just-off-the-street-in-work-attire). One couple wore yarmulkes and carried a siddur; another couple looked like ordained ministers, but I didn't know for sure of which Christian denomination. (It must be one willing to ordain gay women.) At the back of City Hall, the line was making its way through the door past a group of about half a dozen well-wishers with big pink signs. They looked like high school students. One of them was carrying an American flag with gay rights symbols in place of the stars.


The balcony opposite ours was set up in the same general way: officiants, couples, families. We heard frequent applause as people there were pronounced "spouses for life", and shortly the same thing happened right in front of us, perhaps three or four feet from where we stood. There was no privacy, and there was merely a basic decorum; nothing was ornate or elaboratively choreographed. The emphasis seemed to be on speed with appropriate respect. (One couple carried signs saying that they had been together for 18 years and had wanted to be married the whole time. Dan Bern says "I know how I hate to wait / Like even for a bus or something / An important phone call / So I can just imagine..." but of course I can't imagine. [...]

Zack and I applauded for the couples as they were married, and shook hands with them. The couples were as diverse in age as they were in dress: I saw a pair of women get married and was sure they were younger than I am. And I saw and was most touched by several weddings of people who had likely been waiting even longer than 18 years. Two women of my mother's age, or a little older, were married right in front of me, and they started to cry. I almost started to cry, too.

We did see history. We saw a dozen or two dozen people get married on Valentine's Day, who all very badly wanted to and who got their chance.

I think this is the most hearwarming thing I've read in quite a while, and I'm glad San Francisco is doing it. What are you waiting for, Nashville?

Things I accomplished this weekend:

  • Had one beer in the tiny taproom of the Yazoo Brewing Company, a relatively new microbrewery in the back corner of the old Marathon plant. It's not really in the best part of town, but it's convenient to work, the beer seemed pretty good, and you can get refillable growlers "to go." Definitely worth a return visit.

  • Considered FedExing yappy mop-dog next door to these folks. If they like dogs so much, let them listen to six hours of barking late on a Friday night.

  • Went to the grocery store. On a Saturday afternoon. On Valentine's day. When they think perhaps there could be a bit of snow. When the cash registers are flaking out. Bad idea.

  • Ran to CompUSA to buy RJ-45 heads after the local Radio Shack proved deficient. Ended up also buying a 160 GB drive ($75ish after rebate) and an external firewire enclosure.

  • Using said parts, got my new ReplayTV up and running on my home network. This involved some amount of mucking about in the dirt pit under the house to get a network cable over to the living room. But now that the thing is working, I'm totally loving it. I can program it to record shows, then pull them over to my PC for archiving or viewing using DVarchive and VideoLan. Now I'm debating if I want to void the warranty by trying to install a bigger internal hard drive.

    I've already used it to catch part of a nifty PBS documentary that I otherwise would have missed entirely. (It's now set to snap up the second half next week.)

  • Did laundry. Didn't fold it. Cat slept on it. Of course.

  • Excavated my computer table. Paid lots of bills, did my taxes, and went through tons of mail that built up while I was in DC. Filed all sorts of stuff. (Stayed motivated by streaming the Simpsons to my PC.)

  • Made ham and bean soup. The HoneyBaked people will sell you the ham/hambone, beans, and a bunch of spices for around $5 if you catch them when they're having a 2-for-1 deal. Add in some celery, onions, canned tomatoes, garlic, and more spices, and you get tons of great soup for relatively little dough.

    In the process, I tried out my Christmas food processor. I wanted my onions diced, but I ended up with something more along the lines of julienned. The soup didn't seem to care, and I saved some to put on sandwiches later in the week. But I think perhaps I am in need of remedial Cuisinart training.

  • Talked to my brother, whose job search doesn't seem to be going real well. Anyone need a mechanical engineer?

  • Did some schoolwork, but didn't do the staff evaluations I told my boss I'd try to finish over the weekend. (gak.) Oh, well... Guess I'll scramble on that tomorrow.