Tuesday, December 05, 2006

City Swap

After multiple trying endeavours with the various shipping facilities in my area, I have finally managed to ship my City Swap gift.

Let me just say - fucking phew.

Ugh. I won't go into the specific details of my encounter with the individual at The UPS Store, but let's just say that I will not be going back. Ever. Since it appears that these stores are manned by people from a far-off land so distant that they are completely unfamiliar with normal shipping practices, the materials used in the process of shipping and really just human interaction in general.

To put it in perspective, at the end of my UPS Store experience I was actually looking forward to my trip to the post office and was considering any uniformed USPS officer as my personal savior. That takes some serious damage.

However, to get back to the real reason for this post, I would like to put some method behind my City Swap madness so that the poor soul paired with me will understand the contents of the package and not think that I totally missed the point of the swap.

The point of City Swap was to find the unique bits of your city and shower those bits upon your swap buddy. Sounds simple and lovely, no? Especially if you are from a city as glorious as, say, Rome, Sydney, New York, Milan, etc.

No such luck.

As much as I love where I live (San Jose, CA) I can't say that there are a lot of bits that are uniquely San Jose that I'd want to shower on anyone. I mean, yeah, we've got the Sharks, but who really gives a deuce about hockey? I live approx one mile from their stadium and hadn't even been to a game until two weeks ago for godssake. And after that, what IS San Jose besides obscenely sprawling, crawling with traffic, home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world and jam-packed with geeks?

So, this left me with the issue of finding something -anything-unique and pleasing in San Jose so that I could represent my fair home proudly on an international stage.

I gave up on the Sharks as my answer because nobody wants a Shark's head on a keychain anyway. And anything computer-ish and dorky was out because, well, I'm not ready to admit on paper that I live and work amongst the geekiest population of people on planet earth.

I finally decided that the best thing about San Jose was the one thing that convinced me to move here from the more scenic Peninsula in the first place, my little neighborhood of Willow Glen. See, San Jose on the whole is, IMHO, not all that glam. Yeah, we have a fancy pants shopping center, an international airport, a homeless problem, some passable restaurants and a museum that people are always yamming on about, but that is not enough for me to want to associate it's zip code with my mailing address. However, my little corner of the city is.

We came down here about five years ago for a 4th of July BBQ at a friend's place and when we left, we vowed we'd buy our first home here. Perhaps we were a little lit from the festivities, and had unrealistic expectations about what we could actually afford (um, nothing) in the area, but we were determined to live on one of it's tree-lined streets within walking distance of the cutesy downtown so that we could walk our future dog to our future coffee shop and mow our future lawn while chatting it up with our friendly future neighbors and do (A LOT) work on our future Craftsman house. It was all very pie in the sky and ridiculous, I'll admit.

But after killing ourselves to make it happen, I can say every day that I'm glad we did. We walk to our current coffee shop along the tree lined streets on the weekends and chat it up (so much) with our current friendly neighbors and its just generally love fest all around.

That is what I wanted to share with my swap buddy.

So, I did what I like to do best around here, I walked the tree-lined streets. For hours. And took pictures of all the good stuff. Hand painted bus benches, steel-wrought rhinos on street corners, dog grooming shops, yoga studios, the place I get the best falafel in the world, houses decorated for the holidays, houses decorated for the invasion of aliens - you know, the youge.

And with the photos, I made stuff like note cards, gift tags and a shopping bag so that my swap friend can appreciate this place without having to figure out what to do with a life size shark carcass, random bits from a computer hard drive or a dose of Silicon Valley smog.

During an especially inspired moment I weeded out photos of shop signs and put them, as a collection, on the shopping bag. It's almost too cutesy to openly admit.

Anyway, I hope she is able to get some use and amusement from the cards, tags and bag - and that she can see why I live in this geeky city rather than our hoity-toity neighbor 45 mins north.


  1. What a great idea!! Unique. You're my hero--seriously!

  2. Bombshell, this is super cool. What a great idea, you really put your heart into it...I am, as always, MOLTO impressed. I'll put your link up today on my "they're off" post.

    BTW (oh and while we're on the topic of initials and as you referred repeatedly to geeks in your post, I'll come out of the closet and say that I am a fully-fledged one, bc can I just tell you I had to Google IMHO? And hey, for all you curious lurkers out there: it means IN MY HUMBLE OPINION. I think. Right?) anyhoo I was gonna say that I'm almost through with this month's book club book ... I'm getting there!

    Email coming your way soon.

  3. dmarie - I wish you were my swap buddy! Then I wouldn't be so frickin paranoid that they were going to hate their swap gift and wonder what kind of fruit I am.

    Shell-I'm glad you approve. It was a stretch making SJ interesting enough to swap a gift around. And don't worry about the geek thing - I've had to look up stupid online acronyms before, too.

    Geeky tip: Type "define:" and your term "IMHO" into your google search box and it will give you the definition.
    Dorky enough for you?

  4. Fin, you were so much more thoughtful than I was on this thing! She is one lucky recipient!
    Have you received your package yet? Mine has bene received, but I haven't seen anything on this end yet. Hmm...

  5. I think that's awesome. And having been your swap partner before, I'm envious of what I know your current partner will be receiving. You're the best!

    Hey, I'm going to be in SF this weekend...

  6. Have you tried the yummy Greek food at Yiassoo in Campbell? Good stuff. Worth I visit.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.