March 2004: New Office and Almost Boston

This month the small web shop I worked for finally got an office on Kearney and Sutter:

Although I would miss working so close to the Reverie Coffee Shop, working down town would proved to be immensely advantageous for my work and social life.

I met a woman this month that I fell hard for. Everything about our time together felt like what a healthy love should feel like. I almost moved to Boston for her because she said, “Please, move to Boston, please.” I lined up a few job interviews, got a ticket and found a place. She changed her mind for some reason, and I couldn’t believe she could be so cruel.

I met another person who would change my life not long after this cruel reversal. He said that if I followed his advice, I would never get hurt like that again. He was right, but in the wrong way.

February 2004: Hanging out With Lesbian Poets

This month I hung out at Sadie’s Flying Elephant, a lesbian bar in Potrero Hill. Michelle Tea invited me to hang out their and listen to LGBT poetry. I would wear a hoody, and hide out in the corner trying to be not any one gender at all.

One night a very femme woman in jeans and an light pink leather jacket runs into Sadie’s. She sits next to me and is shaking. The butch bartender with a buzz cut and a peculiar habit of clutching her jaw every few seconds asks, “What’ll it be?”

“Vodka soda, please,” she says in a French accent.

After she gets served her drink, a skinny man with facial hair and a bowl cut slams open the door. He has a burning cigarette in his hands and blows by some butch lesbians by pushing them aside.

“Listen here, cunt,” he says in a French accent, “you come back with me now.”


“You come back or we are threw.”

One of the lesbians tells him to leave her alone and he says, “Fuck you, bitch.”

At that point events happened really quickly. He was one the floor saying something about his arm hurting and got thrown out of the bar.

January 2004: Jazz and a Meta-Philosophical Crisis

Music: Sophisticate By Marcus Shelby

This was the last year before tech came back again in a big way. This was the last year before most folks turned into Internet gabbing, auto-friending machines. I think it was the year that I would feel human for a very long time. E-mail wasn’t something I had to check everyday.

Jazz musicians would hang out in the Reverie late in the morning. Marcus Shelby used to compose some of his jazz pieces here.

This month Spinoza’s Coat ran into a lot of issues with Aristotle’s Poetics and group dynamics.

I think the argument had two sides: one side felt that we were analyzing to death Aristotle’s Poetics and going too slow, and the other side felt we weren’t going into things deep enough and lacked an agenda with deadlines.

December 2003: New Year’s Kiss, Finished Translation

Michelle Tea read at City Lights this month.

Brandon Brown put on the last Zeal. It was the best set of poetry events I ever went to. The sort of poetry read here made poets who had never read to the public in decades come out and read. I’m alluding to Larry Kearney.

I met K- at a bar in South Park. I introduced myself to her because of the orchid she put into her hair. The plan was to meet friends there and then go to Cirque du Soleil’s Allegria. I’m sure a friend of mine was setting the two of us up. He gave me a ticket with her last name in it.

This is what I wrote in my journal:

“16 December 2003

From the Nova to the tent set up for Cirque du Soleil, a young woman talked to me in an excited way. K- mentioned all sorts of places: Spain, Switzerland. She knows quite a few languages – enough to get by. She sat in my seat for a bit just to chat… She wrote her numbers and email on a sheet of paper.”

On New Year’s Eve K- just arrived by cab from the airport from a flight from New York at about eleven-thirty. At midnight she was my first ever New Year’s kiss. For one reason or another girlfriends in the past had been back East for the holidays, but here was someone who made every effort to see me.

This month, I also finished my translation of Plato’s Ion. After the translation, I appended a few of my poems.

Here is one of the poems:

   A gentle one 
   A nibble 
   Dry lips 
   Moist lips 
   A quick lick 
   With a tongue tip 
   That presses, caresses, 
   Another tongue tip 
   Surprised teeth 
   Bitten, licked lips 
   Tongue lash 
   Electric bliss 
   French kiss 
   Wet cheeks 
   Last kiss 
   "Later. Tonight." 
   Hurry. Quick. 
   Last Kiss 
   Last Kiss 
   Last Kiss 
   Raspy Breathe
   Last Kiss

November 2003: Friendster has 1.75 Million Users and is Slow

There was lots of Perl and PHP coding for at the first two weeks of this month. So much of that code is throw away. Our team’s task was to take 10,000 or so HTML pages and put them into a CMS with author, date, title and pagination all squared away. We got 9,000 from the web scraper but the other 1,000 articles had to be manually entered. I wrote a web tool for doing that.

We also had to make sure that all the new info was searchable. We used Atomz Search (now Visual Sciences for that.)

So this is how Friendster grew:

User 101 (Jonathan) signed on in April 2002.
 User 175 signed on in May 2002.
 User 250 signed on in June 2002.
 User 375 signed on in July 2002.
 User 500 signed on in August 2002.
 User 1000 signed on in September 2002.
 User 1250 signed on in October 2002.
 User 1500 signed on in November 2002.
 User 2500 signed on in December 2002.
 User 5000 signed on in January 2003.
 User 10,000 signed on in February 2003.
 User 25,000 signed on in February 2003.
 User 50,000 signed on in March 2003.
 User 100,000 signed on in April 2003.
 User 250,000 signed on in May 2003.
 User 500,000 signed on in June 2003.
 User 750,000 signed on in July 2003.
 User 1,000,000 signed on in August 2003.
 User 1,250,000 signed on in September 2003.
 User 1,500,000 signed on in October 2003.
 User 1,750,000 signed on in November 2003.

October 2003: Chess

An artist from New York turned the Mission into one giant chess board:

Mission as Chess Board

I got to play one of the pieces.
Queen takes Knight

The game was between Liina Vark and Charles Gelman. Gelman won as black and the game was won in about 71 moves.

Liina Vark

Queens Arguing

September 2003: Against Love

“[T]he hidden linguistic universe of companianate couples… rests entirely on one generative phrase: ‘Would you please stop doing that.” — from Against Love by Laura Kipnis

I wasn’t in a relationship but this book set the bar high in terms of expectations. It made a relationship seem like a domestic gulag where folks would rather stay at work than have to come home to their spouses and kids.

As far as work goes I was focused on learning about search crawlers and content management systems.

I would go war driving whenever I could find somebody to drive. I didn’t have a driver’s license from 1999 – 2004.

Against Love
Poetics (Aristotle)

August 2003: More members for Spinoza’s Coat

3 new members joined Spinoza’s Coat. I won’t talk about them much for out of respect of the 2 living and the 1 dead.

We were reading Greek tragedy because if we read enough of it, then we’d understand Aristotle’s Poetics.


  1. Oedipus Rex
  2. Antigone
  3. The Bacchae

I felt depressed. I was getting used to working a regular job again. I felt sad because the year I got back from Italy I didn’t have a girlfriend while unemployed. In my journal I wrote about all the wonderful things I would’ve done for her.

The household on Frederick and Clayton that I spent so many wonderful days at was falling apart. Everybody wanted to move, and I couldn’t afford to take over the lease. I was coding for $20 an hour at this point – not bad, but not enough.

July 2003: A Coder Again

I left the place where I copied CDs and documents, and found work as a PHP coder again. In hindsight, anything was possible. I could’ve easily coded Facebook, or Twitter. All I really need is to time travel back to this time, and tell myself to be a really great coder.

This wasn’t my way. I worked everyday on my Greek. After work I would go to 2 cafes where I’d read philosophy in one and write at the other. Coding was still a means to an end for me. I believed philosophy would somehow pay out in this world and in this life time. Unconsciously, I was doing this philosophy because I hated what my mother told me when I was 5: “You’ll never be happy if you don’t have money.” I always thought in the back of my head, “My family has money. If that’s true, why isn’t my family happy? Why are dinners such drab, boring and painful affairs?”

At one cafe there was a Scottish woman with red hair who was friendly to me. I never asked her out…


22 July 2003

Jose told me that some women told him that I was too serious.
“You need to think less because they can tell when and what you are thinking.”

June 2003: Atlanta and the Lentil Lectures

Remember the crappy job where I got spit in my coffee and made next to no money? They put me up in Atlanta for a few weeks in June to work on cracking passwords on hard drives that used to belong to Enron.

My favorite part about Georgia was the coffee shop called Java Monkey in Decatur. It was super friendly and was the closest the South comes to the Reverie, or vice versa.

At the end of June I put on an event called the Lentil Lectures:

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