I'm in front of the hotel, taking a quick break and taking in the warm day and the fresh air.

A short guy walks by. "Hey Blake, you working?"

I don't recognize him but I say 'Yeah' reflexively. Afterwards I realize he didn't say 'Blake', he said 'Babe'. I knew exactly what was going to happen next.

"How much for head?"

I rolled my eyes and started walking back in. "I'm not that kind of girl."

"You said you were working!"

"Yeah, here at the hotel. I'm the manager."

The embarrassed look and the profuse apology before he scampered away almost made it worth it.

It did get me thinking though, and later I wondered, purely hypothetically of course, what I'd be able to get away with charging.

Not that I would or anything- bit too stereotypical for my tastes. Among other good reasons.


15 Seconds of Infamy

Went to Cindy's (Emmy's Sister) birthday party yesterday. Emmy didn't go because her and Cindy are kind of going through a rough patch.

Anyhoo, I took the Caltrain down, which was interesting. I haven't rode many trains.

It all kind of passed rather quick. The first venue was a lake where me and half a dozen of her friends lounged around in the sun. I forgot sunscreen, but hopefully one afternoon didn't do too much damage.

After that, we went back to Cindy's for some Jello Shots and Smirnoff Ice, and then to a Persian restaurant. Karaoke was planned, but I made my exit a little before that, and Cindy's guy Kris drove me to the train station. We sort of made it just before the last train arrived, but it was on the other side of the tracks and I ended up missing it.

He was really nice though and drove me home, like forty minutes away. We had a pretty nice conversation, the first I've really had with him. He is a... very interesting person. I wanted to open up a bit more but I was kind of shy. Oh well.

In other news, my 15 seconds of fame popped up over the weekend, as my little Kindle Hack made the headlines of both Engadget and Gizmodo (my favorite blogs), among other places.

There were a few haters- who knew there were so many Sony Reader fans? And yes, I know I could have contacted Amazon and they probably would have replaced it if I bothered to make a phone call. But who has that kind of time, nowadays? Plus, this was much more fun.

I'm referred to with male pronouns in most of the articles- I didn't want to play up the whole tranny or female angle, wanting the focus to be on the hack and not me. Some people were a little more observant, though (sort of :)

Also I should note again that 'Lara Blake' is a pseudo-name, and when I posted the instructable I forgot my username was also my Real Name. So the secrets out, I guess. Now please don't stalk me.


I'm Famous!

...in a small corner on the internet ;)

I decided to post an Instructable on my little Kindle fix, and it was made Featured and Popular! Hehe, yeah, I know it doesn't mean much, but it is kind of cool when you work hard on a project and then get a chance to show it off.

As of now I'm the Top popular hit on the homepage, but that will probably change by the time you get there. Just do a search for Amazon Kindle.

Hmm, now what am I going to do to top that?

In other news, I'm going to Cindy's birthday/going away party tomorrow. It's all the way in San Jose, which will be a pseudo-adventure. Since moving to San Francisco, besides flying out, I've yet to stray farther than Berkeley.

It's supposed to last the whole day and into the night. Ooh boy, better rest up.


I'm a Genius!


I haven't mentioned my much beloved Amazon Kindle in awhile.

That's because when I went to Florida last Christmas my sister accidentally stepped on it and cracked the screen to smithereens.

I toyed around with it when I got home and took it apart, seeing how everything fit together and worked. After some internet research, it donned on me that the Sony E-ink reader and the Kindle practically shared the same screen.

I happened to own a Sony Reader, which was gathering dust in a box somewhere, so I did what any DIYer would do- I took apart the Sony Reader and attempted a "Screen Transplant" to the Kindle.

After dismantling the Sony I quickly found out that glued on to the screen was an aluminum support frame with jutting parts that would make it impossible to fit into the Kindle. In the back of my mind I made a note to buy a Dremel and left the disassembled Kindle on a lonely corner on my workbench.

Well, last paycheck, having had some disposable cash for the first time in many months, I went ahead and ordered one of the cheapest Dremel models (along with like ten pairs of cute shoes).

The iconic rotary tool arrived yesterday, and I began the long process of using a cutting wheel to saw off the largest parts, and than grinding them down as close as I could. This was while I was behind the desk, by the way, so customers got treated to the sight of me in my construction gloves and safety goggles- always hilarious.

Once the screen was cut down to size, I fitted it into the Kindle and began the long process of of reassembly, going by memory and some pictures I took of the original dismantling. There was some puzzle solving required, but in the end the last screw was put in place. (Well, second to last- I had one left over.)

I turned it on, and... nothing. Well, I could tell that it was on and "working", the screen was just dead. It was a little disappointing, but I half-expected it to not really work anyway, figuring that maybe there was some little difference that made them incompatible. I packed up my tools and thought that was that.

A little later though I was in my room, trying to nap as my mind started playing through the events of the day (it was a pretty crummy day at work), when inspiration hit. I took off the back cover of the Kindle and started fiddling around, checking connections. I unplugged the screen from the main board, blew in the connector, and put it back in. I felt a satisfying *snap* as it clicked into place that I didn't recall before.

After replacing everything, I turned it on. And the screen started flashing.

Finally, the Amazon Logo popped up.


I felt so giddy I poured myself a glass of wine to celebrate. It's not perfect- it bulges a bit because I couldn't file the screen down as much as I would have liked, plus a couple of fairly important buttons don't function properly, but I take my victories where I can.

It works!!!!

Now to go get reacquainted with an old friend...

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I am now whole again.

Yes, I got a new iPhone.

Good thing I know 'Adi', as I would hate having to stand in line again and go through that whole process.

Unfortunately, my last sync was July 12th (!) so I lost a bunch of txts and pictures. I also lost The Russian Girls new number, but maybe that's a good thing.

As I mentioned before, 'Erika' dropped by out of the blue, after disappearing a year ago. A part of me always wondered whether she was dead. (A not that unlikely scenario in these here parts), but no, she was just in Jail, as I had guessed.

To refresh everyones memory, The Russian Girl was someone I met at the hotel years ago. She was in an abusive relationship and I took a fondness to her, and tried to help her out of her situation. Some people are just Chaos Magnets though, and inevitably they end up dragging you down with them.

I think that was an important lesson to learn. As it was, she almost seriously screwed up my life, playing a major part in getting me kicked out of Emmy's place and almost fired. There was kind of a silver lining though, as my moving to the Hotel was one of the reasons I was promoted to management.

But yeah, she was bad news. Apparently she's been out a few weeks and have begun the long process of getting her life together, but I'm skeptical.

Anyway, I do wish her the best. She was my first intimate San Francisco relationship, and in a way she showed me a lot of what was missing from my previous relationships.


It's in the Stars

I don't put much stock in newspaper horoscopes, but the 'Pink Pages' in the San Francisco chronicle, a weekly entertainment guide to the Bay Area, has always been pretty accurate. (Yes, I realize how unscientific this all is, but I'm also an Aquarian, which makes me a tad eccentric and ready to believe in the Strange)

It did predict (or more correctly, my interpretation of the prediction) that I would meet Emmy, and the connection we would share. The one January 1st of this year said that the year ahead would be prep time for 2009, which will supposedly be "the best year of [my] life". Today said that the recent events in my life was getting me ready for the 2009 odyssey.

And after the kind of day I had yesterday, the next year and a half will probably bumpy, but hopefully there's some kind of reward in it for me.

Eesh, listen to me. I sound like a nut. Fate, destiny... I have a very cynical side that says it's all crap and we're all just skittering around, howling in the dark, all alone. No wonder we want to believe in something "more".

I guess only time will tell.



Today was one of those really, really awful days.

First off, people in this area were totally crazy. I checked the calender, and indeed, today is a full Moon!

I had to keep the room deposits from a guest because they smoked in the room, and for doing my job I have the pleasure of being screamed at, called a "faggot" repeatedly, and get a cup of ice water thrown at me.

Then a little later there was more drama with some crackheads who had paid for a week but were demanding a refund because they wanted to leave early. Needless to say the Police had to be called in.

And the perfect clincher to a perfect day- I AM NOW IPHONELESS AGAIN!!!!! Yes, and this time I can't blame it on being drunk and having the phone slip out of my pocket in a cab.

It was just plain stupidity- I set it down in the bathroom and forgot about it until it was looooong gone.


Well, on the bright side, that gay guy, Adi, I mentioned before happens to be an AT&T independent reseller, and can probably get me one for cheap, soon. Hopefully.

Oh, and one of our workers has quit, so I get the pleasure of working seven days a week until a replacement is found. So I don't even get tomorrow off to unwind after today.

Oh, happy days........................................


As if things weren't complicate enough...

The Russian Girl, Erica just dropped by after getting out of the joint. Eesh. More on that later.

Google is my Neurologist

Over a week again. Sorry! I did update my Flickr page with a couple of pics. Literally, just 5 or so. Nothing too revealing, either. I just thought it would be a nice change of pace to put some "normal" pictures up, outside the confines of my tiny room.

So what's happening?

I met this gay guy at the hotel that I've become sort of friends with. He's gone shopping with me and is working on helping me "find my style". It's like having a personal "Queer eye" guy.

After a round of shopping the other day we found ourselves near Tony Roma's, the restaurant I used to work at, and decided to stop for dinner. Emmy met us there, too. So we're eating, I'm indulging in a margarita, when I hear someone call my name. I look up and there's 'Weena', my ex-coworker from the restaurant, and someone I blogged about last summer, I believe.

I invited her to join us, and then a little later a couple of Emmy's friends show up and suddenly we have a dinner party going on.

'Weena' and I talked a bit, getting caught up and stuff. I'd like to be friends with her, but I don't know if that feeling is mutual. When I bumped into her last year we talked about hanging out, but it kind of felt like she blew me off as she pretty much ignored my calls and texts. Well, I don't know, maybe she was just busy or had something going on.

She did invite me to Thailand (!) in January though, so we'll see. It would be nice to share the experience with someone, and see more of the country than just the Mall.

In other news, I have to stop crossing my legs! I've begun to develop a bit of numbness around my ankle. It's difficult to lift and when I'm wearing flats I've noticed that foot tends to "slap" the ground.

Sure, it could be the start of some kind of neural degenerative disease, but I'm hoping that the simplest explaination is the cause- that since my legs are so skinny, when I cross the right over the left at the knee, it compresses the peroneal nerve.

Having made a concentrated effort to not cross them today, already I've noticed a lot of improvement and the numbness is almost gone. It really is an effort- every time I sit down I start to cross them out of habit.

So a word of warning to everyone out there with chicken legs- take care of your nerve fibers.


Not Dead (Yet)

Apologies for the absence.

Been neck deep in work and various projects. I picked up a LEGO NXT robot kit and have been prototyping with that. Ahhh, hard to beat building with Lego- makes me feel young again. Hehe, in a box somewhere my Mom has a picture of me sitting on the bed, naked, age 6, playing with a suitcase full of Lego.

Yeah, I was a weird kid.

Went on my second date, with The Date. We saw 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' in 3D. Like he said afterwards, light on story but the effects were pretty cool. I love 3D movies.

Afterwards, we went to bar and I filled up on Lichee Martinis, the best I've ever had. At $13 bucks a pop, they better be.

We made out a lot, too, which was nice.

Nice, but...

I don't know. He's a really great guy- very polite, intelligent, and courteous. He's involved in tons of cool projects. Plus he's got a sexy accent. And yet...

Yet... clich├ęd as it sounds, I don't know if I'm feeling any chemistry. I've spent the better part of the week trying to sort through my thoughts on the matter. This is my first experience with a boy. Could it be it would be the same with all guys?

With girls, I was always kind of clingy. But now, even though The Date and I have only seen each other twice and he's got his own thing going on and our communiques are light txts and emails, I've begun feeling a bit claustrophobic.

I know, I'm crazy.

But that's what I'm feeling. I'm still discovering things about myself about and I have to learn what works and what doesn't.

But now I'm starting to feel pretty bad because I'm going to hate hurting his feelings.

Ugh, few things in life are easy. You're always damned if you do, or don't.