Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

26 Dec 2002, 10:46 a.m.

Sumana the Pink-Nosed Person

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

A week ago, I was asked whether my flatmate's friend could stay over a few days around Christmas. I said 'sure'. If there's room at the inn, there's room at the inn for my friends' friends.

Paolo arrived a few nights later, a spouter of tall tales, obscure references, and cynical wit.

Christmas Eve, I thought, we'd spend at home cooking, but Paolo asked me if I'd like to come with him to a Christmas get-together at his friend's. I have a cell, what can go too wrong? I figured, and got into the car.

So I met Dan, who works at KALX, and his friends Arronzo, who refers to people as "Ukranian" and "French" even if their families have lived in the US for four generations, and Ryan, who works at a coffeeshop near the Safeway and dresses like a hipster even though he's very nice.

We drove around to find food, eventually buying stuff at Saul's Deli and some Chinese place in Emeryville. I saw a Ranch 99 US Chinese chain store) shopping plaza for the first time, walking around with these Oriental-descended Asians squabbling about whether the restaurant was a tong front and updating each other with gossip on people I'd never met nor heard of. The Ranch 99 experience made my head spin with the sheer East-West lovechild vibe.

As Dan and I waited for the Chinese duck, we got to talking about friends, and weblogs, and he mentioned that he lives with a minor celebrity -- Patrick Farley, who does E-Sheep. "YOU LIVE WITH THE E-SHEEP GUY?!" I squealed.

Eventually we got back to Dan's place and I met more crazy characters as we sat down to our Christmas Eve dinner of duck, rice and coconut curry, potato salad, beets, rugelach, Coca-Cola, and soja (sake workalike).

I heard more silly, astounding stories, about Burning Man, pervert friends in Japan, and a speed freak who used to work at Reel and would break into the house to make pancakes. And more.

And I met Patrick. Wow neato! Contrary to his outdated "about" page, one of his comics has now been printed, in this month's Wired magazine (tangent: doesn't this photo resemble a Wired cover?). And he drew a seven-eyed sheep in my notebook for me, and we stayed up late watching other people play Vice City and watching extremely experimental music videos and talking.

And, of course, I could have met him earlier if I'd wanted, through Zack or Shweta, but it's probably better that I met him magically and spontaneously, without even knowing it's something I wanted.

On Christmas Day proper, I hung out with my sister, and made a MacGyver lasagna better than it had any right to be (in the end I visited 7-11 for cheese). Her friend brought dessert and we watched Abbott and Costello and Lagaan.

Paolo left last night, and I sort of miss him.

So the universe gave me a Christmas gift, a few of them, and I hope you got a nice one too.