Living 'softly.
a look into Zach Robinson

"Then we are lost!"
"Perhaps so, " replied Conseil calmly. "But we still have some hours ahead of us,
and a great many things may be accomplished in such a time."
Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea

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I went ice-skating with Megan and my brother Derek today at the Seattle Center Ice Rink. This was fun. Rachel had taught me the basics of ice-skating backwards last week, so I practiced it some more today. I'm still not very fluid, but I can do basic quick turns and basic backwards skating now, something I'd never been able to do until Rachel taught me how. I'm not very good at ice-skating. My brother is much more of a natural than I am. But I have fun and am learning.

While I was ice-skating around, I noticed that there was a face-painting booth at the side of the rink that didn't have any business. This kept being the case for a sadly long time, so I went and got my face painted. The woman was very amused to be painting a Mature Adult (ha), and ended up painting a big sparkly dragon on my face. The kids loved this, and a little kid (Saul) who already loved me before this then tried to adopt me. As we were leaving he was having his face painted too, in the same pattern I had. Flattering.

Then we went to the Seattle Center game house and won lots of carney game prizes, played some air hockey... had nice casual fun. I'm doing really badly in air hockey recently. Humph. On the other hand I won ~10 prizes at the carney games (admittedly 7 at the BullDozer pits). I gave a couple weird stuffed animals to Megan, and she seemed delighted. She's a really sweet girl... she pleases me. She's taken special affection to this really bizarre looking purple rabbitish thing she calls "Ralph". Megan isn't really a "Petunia" or pink frilly type girl. <grin>

I talked with her about Things later on... she's really the first person things have been Equal with. That is, she's as prone to give me a massage as I would be to give her one, etc. It extends everywhere, really - we're a good caring match I think - but it's especially unsettling in the physical realm where I've tended at times to date "selfish" people. I like that most times - again, this is unsettling - but I think a relationship with an equal could be more ... fulfilling and better *for me* than with a definite Top and a definite Bottom. Different strokes for different folks.... I like topping most of the time, but at the same time I want to be coddled and loved from time to time without having to ask or feel greedy.

Hey. Look at me. Not now. You appear likeable, but you're gonna have to stop badgering me or I'm walking away. Is this something you can comprehend? I'm not gonna tell you when you're ready. I'm gonna tell you when I'm ready.

-Jane Shapiro, The Dangerous Husband

Hrm. I really hope people pay attention to my "Are you sure you want to know this?" disclaimers. If not, go reread them and turn away now. Remember, I respected you enough to give you a warning: respect me enough to realize that if you get upset it's your fault. You get to choose most of the level of honesty here.

You're still reading? Are you sure you want to know?

Really sure?

Okay... here goes...

I Shaved last weekend. It's not really a big thing for girls to do it - you'll see all sorts of funky "hairstyles"... I don't know about for guys. It's not something we really talk about. It isn't something I notice at the gym - all the guys look 'unkempt' - but it's not like I'm doing sketches there... One ex-girlfriend had a near natural mohawk which I must say was unsettling... it just didn't look right. Completely bald... also not right. If that's your kick, okay, but leave some there just so you look like a woman...

I used to like the look of fairly hairy/"natural", but now over time I've realized that Short is quite nice for people who are Cunning Linguists.

So... I took my electric razor and chopped away. A little saddening because the two places where my hair is the reddest are my beard and down there. (I've always had a fondness for redheads, and I think it's nifty when some of my red-bearded Scottish background shows through.) I'd heard that it can make that area a little more sensitive as well as more palatable to a partner - less hair to get sweaty, less hair to get accidentally entwined with latex (yeeeeee-ouch), less hair to get stuck in a partner's mouth...

I had trimmed down to the final 1/16 inch or so when I managed to knick myself.


I stopped quickly, cleaned up, and forgot I'd ever started on this fiasco. Anytime your scrotum starts bleeding as part of your day's activities - go back to bed. This isn't your day.

It wasn't a bad knick, thankfully, but ... I'm just not comfortable seeing that part of my body bleed, and I never really want to be. I want that sight to be so startling that no matter what I'm doing I stop myself and ask: have I really thought this through? Because frankly, if my scrotum is bleeding, the answer there has got to be no.

Disasters aside... it *really* does make you much more aware of that area of your body. I felt like a semi-awkward teenager again. The only downside is that ... err, umm, well, I don't know about other guys, but I produce a pretty fair amount of lubrication when I'm aroused. Wearing boxers, without hair to catch it on... it kind of pools at the base of the shaft, approximating a (brace yourself) milk mustache. I'm sorry. That's really the only way I can phrase it.

I like it so far. A little more sensitivity, a little more awareness... I feel a little sexier, I think. A tiny little secret to the world, like wearing sexy undies. Speaking of which, I found these amazing lycra/spandex blend boxers a while back. Finally, sexy guy underwear. Nothing stupid like a little tuxedo brief (8 guys in the world can pull that off) or silly like a front pouch with a waist strap, but actually sexy in the best way: understated (a soft sleek black) and verrrry nice to the touch. I've got to get ten thousand more pairs of these boxers. I made the mistake of not buying 50 pairs of the Matisse Jazz socks when they were out (only three pairs which I've quickly worn through), and now the rest of my life I have to life with the fact that I'll never find socks that cool again. Cool and/or sexy undergarments for guys are *really* hard to come by. But I think I've got a fair collection.

I went snow-boarding for the first time on Saturday. Patrick and some of his friends were going up, and I decided to try my luck. I've been skiing before, and can skateboard a little bit, so I felt I'd be okay. It was only Patrick's second time, so we should have been on about the same pace.

We all met at his friend Leslie's place, divided ourselves up in cars, and took off. Patrick rode with me. When I'd asked his friend to confirm the direction to Steven's, he'd said "take 405 south, I-90 east, then 522 east" or such. So we took those directions, got out past Snoqualmie, almost to Cle Elum... and realized that umm. No. Steven's was 405 north. We turned around after having drive 45 minutes out...

Renting our snowboards was very easy. The staff was young and lively and bebopping to the music. I decided to ride goofy-footed, although I'm ambi... ambi... I can use either foot. We stuffed on all of our gear and headed up to the lift. [I had previously lent my snowpants to Kate, who had needed to put safety pins on them in order to hold them up. I took them out, but it's always such a sweet thought to have little reminders of one's closest friends.]

Patrick and I got on the lift with some 14 year old girl skier. I'd heard horror stories of snowboarders getting off chairlifts, so we agreed that he would fall to the left, and I'd fall to the right. I wasn't proud. They did slow down the lift so I could get on, which while unnecessary was a little embarassing. All the way up the lift I was talking doom and destruction, which heartily amused the girl riding with us. About 3/4 of the way up the lift stopped, leaving us hanging right next to one of the lifts support structures. I proposed to Patrick that we could jump off the lift and catch ourselves by our tongues on these metal structures... what a horrifying thought. Your tongue would rip completely out of your body and THEN you would plunge to your death. Your tongue would remain stuck there all season long as a reminder not to accept all triple-dog dares... ouch.

I didn't fall when I got off the lift. I cruised, awkwardly, down to the place where everybody was clipping their one unclipped boot in, and got strapped in myself. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to do anything other than turn right at first. I also couldn't help but go down the hill backwards for some reason - I kept flipping around. Eventually I got the hang of it, and we headed down the hill. Patrick quickly realized that his right binding was broken, which made for a reallllly awkward ride down the hill for him.

First impressions: it's really cold going up the lift, but almost warm when you're snowboarding. It's difficult to consciously accept that you're not stuck to the ground, that you're on a little plank that you can flip about and jump about on just as you would an attached skateboard. I fell softly a number of times before I picked up on that. A quick hop works wonders. I never Fell. I would fall down when I came to a stop, or sit down so I could turn around, but ... I guess I was in control enough that I never hurt myself. It would be really easy to break your hands snowboarding. If I went regularly, I'd want to get skateboarding wrist guard gloves - that same knuckle-headed tendency to keep oneself from hitting the ground hard via spreading the hand to act as a plant... that's deadly to the bones. I caught myself doing this a number of times. Not good considering I already have had to have my thumb rejoined with pins... I like the finesse of snowboarding. I'm not sure how I'll like it comparatively when I'm as good at it as I am at skiing, but... right now it seems a lot more controlled than skiing, and I like that.

We joined up with his friends in the cafe for a quick lunch after our first run. I think we were all supposed to meet there an hour earlier, but they were still waiting there when we got in, which was nice. We chowed down food, exchanged Patrick's snowboard, and headed back out.

We only had time for one more run (I had to leave), but it was a good run... I felt like I had the basics down, and was experimenting a little bit with 'jumping' the board. Patrick and I kept pace with each other, so maybe we'll be good learning partners.

So we drove back, I dropped Patrick off, and then zoomed home to get ready for the opera that I was already desperately close to being late for. I knew I'd be pressing things, but ... I wanted to go snow-boarding and I had committed to the opera, so... I did both.

I wasn't sure what to wear, so wore my floofy touseled white Poet shirt, classic black pants, and white suspenders. I wasn't sure how it looked, but... it was interesting and I realized that I was dressing for me. While I was going with Cynthia, I didn't feel that I needed to deviate from what I thought was fun. She ended up liking it though, which was nice.

So I hauled tail over to pick her up. She looked very nice. I was sorry that she didn't have someone Lustful to take her to the opera. We headed over to Ciao Bella's for dinner. Ciao Bella is a nice quiet Italian place back by the University Village. I'd last taken Rachel there for our three-month anniversary and had really enjoyed it. I think it turned out to be an inspired choice - classy and romantic enough for her to feel she was going on a nice pleasant date, but not overly romantic such that she'd feel that I was making a play on her. They had a piano player who played various semi-recognizable songs, including excerpts from Phantom and Les Miz. Quite nice. I wish I could recall the place that I took Sonja to for prom that had classical guitar - classical guitar is far undervalued.

We finished up our very nice meal and drove and then ran to the opera, Billy Budd. I knew I'd have trouble staying awake during the first act - I always do, and now I'd been snow-boarding and just had food and was wearing too many layers so I'd be nicely roasty toasty warm - and so I made the mistake of mentioning this to Cynthia. Don't ever do this. I felt self-conscious throughout the first act... I'd be sliding off into happy sleep and then realize Oh No! I bet she's watching - and sometimes she was - and so I had to keep treading the sleepy tides instead of just drowning in sleep briefly, waking refreshed and not having to worry about it again. Oh well.

The opera was fantastic. It was probably my favorite opera to date. People all have their own takes on Billy Budd, but I read it as reconciliation of the Evils of God with Belief in God. The story is of Billy Budd, a charismatic young sailor happily pressed into service aboard the HMS Indominatable, forced to suffer under the treacherous cruelty of Jemmy Leggs (master of arms, I believe), while the captain of the ship watches aloofly. That's a quick overview anyways. Jemmy Leggs is whole-heartedly evil and treacherous - supposedly one of the 3 purely evil characters in all of opera, without any redeeming qualities whatsoever. Billy Budd, who has a stutter, kills Jemmy Legs while tongue-tied after being accused falsely of a capital crime in front of the captain. Killing - even striking - an officer is punished by death, so Billy must perish unless the captain intervenes. The captain chooses not to, and yet at the end Billy cries out to his shipmates to 'bless the captain' or something similar - a final act of forgiveness and dedication.

I read it this way... Billy Budd is Christ, Jemmy Leggs is Satan/sin/evil, and the captain is God. The captain as complete lord of the ship (world/universe) is responsible for all its inhabitants/for everything that resides within, including evil/Leggs. The introduction of Billy slowly transforms the crew (humanity) into a positive force, and yet it takes the sacrifice of Billy (Christ) to fully expunge sin/Leggs from the ship. But: that wasn't necessary. The captain could have at any time forgiven Billy, could have allowed him to live and continue to contribute to the ship. And yet at the end Billy, the one true source of good and light says: believe in the captain. So while the captain to the end of his days is haunted by knowing that he created the situation in which such a being of promise died... he was forgiven.

I think that fits. I don't think one can have a Christian theology without either dodging or answering the question of deitic responsibility, and I approve of the playwright's reconciliation of belief with realism. It's not my take, but ... it was thought out, and I respect that.

I took Cynthia home after the opera. We have such good chemistry that I always like to touch her, want to hold her... but I don't want to create the wrong mood between Friends, so I don't. It was nice being with her. She makes me smile.

I went to see Marie in Portland today. She and her fiance Jay are busy planning their wedding, selecting sites, etc. It's very cute.

She and I headed out to a little Italian place to chat. I gave her the Maori carving (a symbol for growth) that I'd picked up for her and Jay in New Zealand, which she liked. I like Jay... he's seemingly me in the future, after I've reached peace with myself. That same easy laugh and smile... he's a likeable guy. I'll be interested to hear what my parents think of him, if they ever get the chance to meet him. Marie acts the same way around him when she did when the two of us were in love - it's beautiful to see. I'm so glad she's finally happy.

She gave me some credit for growing up. I could never live by her standards, but ... I want to at least by sensible in my decisions, so I've been very hesitant in the past several years about Getting Involved. Perhaps too much so, but... it's so easy for me to be in relationships that I feel I've needed to remain "single" and continue to exercise and stretch my character and person before I attempt to meld with another in a relationship.

I got in an accident yesterday. A lane of cars flowing in the opposite direction was stopped behind a car turning left, so I turned left in front of that car - only to notice a car pop over the top of the hill ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZooming down the non-existent right-lane on that side. I continued quickly to drive into the parking lot, but he still clipped my tail. My car was unharmed other than a bumper smudge. His car had the right front smashed up a little bit, but ... he was completely at fault and admitted such so we just kind of shook hands and walked away. Still, this is the first time that my car has ever been hit while in motion (usually I'm just terrible at parking...), and it was a little scary. I'm driving a little more carefully now, but I don't think I'll ever be prepared for somebody doing ~50 in a 25 zone in a lane that doesn't exist.

I did my first Ostentatious Act since becoming a Microsoft employee. Giving away money, helping a brother with college, buying a big screen TV (which I returned for 40+ inch TV because the ~80inch TV was waaay too big for my apartment and hulked in the living room like a huge blind gorilla)... those are normal quirky things that people my age do. But I bought a Car Stereo. I've never seen anybody drive a '95 Pathfinder with a rockin' stereo... I may be the first. All my credit cards were paid enough, I got another big increase in my limit, and so I had fun with that over at Magnolia Hi-Fi. My car goes in for two days of work next week, and then I will have a nicely rockin' car that I can take snow-boarding. The salesguy was my age, and we had a lot of fun talking to each other. We spent a couple hours working the deal, taking lots of time to talk about similar life experiences. I was willing to pay retail - I've never been a haggler -, but he gave me a nice price-break anyways, and even showed me how the whole employee compensation system worked. So: I'm getting this cool "Dynamat" sound damping material which should be very cool in my ever-so-loud Pathfinder. Hopefully it'll help the overall noise in the car... sometimes I look it noisy, but usually I prefer it calm and quiet. A Pioneer deck, Boston Acoustics Rally and Pro series all around the car (with two 8" subwoofers), and a couple XTant amps in the 'trunk'.

All because my volume knob was too sensitive and my CD player wouldn't play a couple of my CDs. Perhaps overkill, but... you only live once.

Hmm. Working on my home computer is weird. At work I have all the New Technology, but here I've still got the public versions of our software. I have to relearn how to use the "old" version (v7) of the player - very annoying.

We finally hired the right guy for the position that I had open. We're not sure of his start date due to visa issues, but I was very pleased. I had given him a number of logic problems that he'd breezed through, which was most annoying. I like to have people struggling and thinking in interviews - I want to see how they think and act when there's really nowhere to go with something. I had first given him the simple:

Q: Use two cubes to display all the days of the month (01-31)
, which he'd gotten in a minute or so [Note: Janus says they asked this question in a RealNetworks interview too - it seems to be relatively popular]. I followed up with:
Q: Form 4 non-bisecting equilateral triangles with 6 matchsticks
, which he also quickly got. Wanting to see him challenged, I then gave him an incredibly hard geometry problem which didn't really have an answer. But he still was excited by the challenge, discarded wrong avenues as needed so that he never locked up, and had by the end of interview a completely wrong yet interesting and well thought-out answer. I like this guy.

I believe someone is a Fan In An Angry Fashion. It looks like someone tried breaking into my Hotmail account earlier today. I was on-line at the time, though, and quickly changed my password, but it was intriguing. Some people don't express anger very well. Then later on I got a random e-mail with almost completely hoaxed headers (they did a half-*ss job and left huge fingerprints pinpointing the sender) containing a Random Binary that I guess I should just run, huh, to my UN*X based account. I laughed. I looked at it from within a text editor briefly and didn't see anything interesting. I think I might actually set up a sacrificial system... I've never been the target of such a lame attempt at being 0wn3d, and am fairly curious to watch this likely trojan at play.

Ray has felt at 4 PM what Jeremy once felt at midnight: the desire to be swimming in Mirabelle.

-Steve Martin, Shopgirl

(dance dance dance) Woo-hoo! I am now officially in love with Hee hee. Joy. I *love* The Art of Noise, but some of my favorite works of theirs has been extremely highly elusive. Last year, I bought a France-only release of the Europe-only release of Reduction which contained an extra track, "dreaming : maroon". I got an inquiry from someone who wanted a copy, and I'd love to be able to buy him a copy of the CD so he could get the full sound quality. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I bought this France-only version. Erk. The only thing I can remember is that the entire web site was in French, and I had to desperately try to recall the French I learned waaaay back in third grade in order to buy the darned thing. Aaaanyways, Art of Noise is like that: two of their best remix albums, "Dreaming" and "Wet Dream" are only available on vinyl. I finally got a hold of "Dreaming" tonight (from the best elusive-music site on the net -, and now I'm going to send those two vinyl releases (I already had "Wet Dream") and a couple other vinyl-only Art of Noise discs out to LP2CD for conversion. Heh heh. This is sweet. And the best part is that I'll get my new car stereo, have that for a couple days and lose some of the newness... and then get back from LP2CD CD versions of some of my favorite music ever that just happens to be *perfect* driving music (how can you release perfect driving music only on vinyl?). Joy.

It doesn't take much to make me happy.

My Marvel vs Capcom game at work has gotten boring. I'm not the world's greatest player, but I am very good, and there's not a lot of challenge at work. I had a 63 game win streak Wednesday, and a 45 game win streak on Tuesday. I'd hoped that over time the people at work would learn and get better, but ... I don't really see it happening. So I'm thinking of either updating it with something new (like the horrible Marvel vs Capcom 2) or perhaps donating my game to a community center. The latter is really my favorite choice, but the game represents a chance for people to fraternize within work, and I think it's an important part of the team - even if it is also a distraction. Hrm.

Angela has rejoined the group. She's quirky... she has an almost anime-lovableness. I had lunch with her and her friend today. I was dribbling my soccer ball around the hallways, took the ball with me in the elevator down to the cafeteria, got some potato tacos, and saw her. I figured I'd just kick the soccer ball at her to say hi and then eat my lunch elsewhere, but she was nice and inviting. I can't figure her out. She's just incredibly nice, and it's a little unsettling in that I usually get a good perspective of the people I deal with - their strengths and their weaknesses both - and at this point I still feel I haven't scratched the surface with her because she's all anime-ish sweetness and light.

I thought I saw Steve at work today as well. We have a newish guy, John, who looks almost identical to Steve from behind. I saw him at the end of the hall as I was redecorating my door, internally thought "Oh, I'll have to say hi to Kate" and immediately went to thought about a song to sing her ... and then stopped short as I realized *hey* that's *not* Steve. Quite disappointing. The best analogy I can give for the presence of Kate in my life is the sun. It's a happy shiny thing that I know is there, even if I don't get to see it right now. But I still do happy dances in its honor.

"Thermodynamic miracles... events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing.
And yet, in human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multipy those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged.
To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold...
That is the crowning unlikelihood.
The thermodynamic miracle."

Laurie replied, "But ... if me, my birth, if that's a thermodynamic miracle... I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world!"

Anybody in the world.
But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another's vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away."

-Alan Moore, Watchmen

Point. Counterpoint:

"This is the idea that has made me virtually an anonymous figure in America for the last 10 years ... If you have children here tonight, I'm sorry to tell you this, they are not special. Don't misunderstand me, I know you think they're special, [laughs] I'm aware of that. I'm just telling you they're not. Do you know that every time a guy comes he comes 200 million sperm? ... And you mean to tell me you think your child is special?? Do you know what that means? I have wiped entire civilizations off of my chestówith a grey gym sock! That is special."

"Childbirth is such a miracle, it's such a miracle.... Wrong. No more a miracle than eating food and a turd coming out of your ass. You know what a miracle is? A miracle is raising a kid who doesn't talk at a fucking movie theater. That. That. There's a goddamn miracle. If it were a miracle than not every nine months any yin-yang in the world could drop a litter of these mewling fucking cabbages on the planet. And in case you have not checked the single-mom statistics lately, the miracle is spreading like fucking wildfire. 'Hallelujah!' Trailers all over America, filling up with little miracles."

-Bill Hicks, Rants in E-Minor and Relentless, respectively

Bill Hicks ... now that's a man who should have lived longer.

"Faith-based" federally funded social services. Grrrrreat. Let's approach people at their mentally weakest and try to sell them that belief is part of their Cure. I don't care how you spin it, it's frightening. "Faith-based". To me, I read that as helping fund evangelism. I'd like to think that between TV, video games, and religion, most people are already sleepwalking their way through life. Why should we be federally encouraging this? We're already sheep-like enough without further extending the creeping choking mental ivy of religion into federally funded social service organizations.

Don't get me wrong - as always, religion has its place. But we do have freedom of religion, and the very real thought that some locale might only have a Southern Baptist agency dealing in my plight is frightening. Approach me in strength and sell me religion - when I'm weak tend to my needs, mental and physical, until I can stand on my own like an adult and make competent decisions. I really do not want a church being the solve provider of pregnancy counseling services. Just hypothetically they might just gloss over Certain Choices they find Offensive, and that is a very sneaky but very effective way of undercutting freedom of choice. As an ex's bumper sticker once said, "Keep the U.S. Out of My Uterus". The Phillie cheesesteak sub shop I frequent (Philly's Best on 23rd and Jackson, I believe) has a flyer for an "Are You Pregnant? Party". A little scary, but that's a great way to approach it. Get the community involved, don't shut doors on religious options, but don't make federal options faith-based. *cringe* *cower*. "Let's Teach Abstinence." F***ers. Teach reality and responsibility - if that doesn't scare the hell out of youngsters, not much will.

The most sad and terrible thing I know of in this universe is that the women I know who have had abortions have to deal with that as a Most Painful Dark Bad Thing. That's sick. If you don't think you're ready to be a parent for the next ... REST OF YOUR LIFE - you're NOT READY. You can't divorce a kid. There's no take-backs. These women made what is to me in this society a brave wise correct choice, and I applaud them. I'm sorry. I feel like ranting and I am, but I'll stop. I hate it when other people won't leave other people alone and make natural good choices seem evil or wrong.

Julie had a naughty dream about me. That was flattering. We were starting a chat, and she said "hey! I had a dream about you!" and then quickly had to shut up as she remembered the dream. She said it wasn't too bad... but... that's how I'd like it to be. I have the Curiosity level of attraction to her. I know (?) things would fail miserably between us - we're two very different people - but at the same time she's so different from me that I would like to be able to bond together romantically, if not intimately, with her at least once. Slow day at the park playing together, a slow home-cooked meal together, watching a movie or reading to each other while sharing massages, maybe centering together to the Compline Service... nothing much, but I like the idea of being close to her.

Plus she's the kind of person that drags her boyfriend to theme parks all the time. That is a *great* quality in a woman.

So the new guy working for me has to get his H-1B visa cleared. Supposedly it could take a minimum of six weeks before he's able to join my team. He's a sharp cookie [thought: why is that throat-piercing concept indicative of a positive quality?] and I'll be very glad to have him here. While that is a long way out, it is a light at the end of the tunnel, and for that I'm very thankful.

Arrgh. Today is my second day without my car as it sits in the shop, and I am woefully unhappy.

I had brought it in to the dealership for the 90k mile wallet-suck Treatment yesterday, and was supposed to get it back last night before dropping it off today for two days at the car stereo peoples. Unfortunately, they took a little extra time with my car, so I only got it back this morning - and then had to rush it immediately to for the car stereo installation.

So instead of leisurely taking my Pathfinder to soccer at the Arboretum, instead I caught a taxi from Microsoft on over. And since I'd left all my soccer gear in my car... I had to leave *two* hours early for the game - in order to get my stuff from the dealership before they closed at 7pm, on my way to the 9pm game.

Thankfully I had brought David Brin's Infinity's Shore along, so I had some reading materials while waiting at Washington Park's benches. As it turned out, there was a couple Ultimate Frisbee games on the field before our game, so I would get to have entertainment too. People slowly trickled in over time for the Ultimate game, and I dressed in my soccer gear. This was because I had been planning on having my warm car for the day, and so had dressed *cough* in shorts and a t-shirt on what was a *very* cold day. My soccer gear was actually warmer than what I had been wearing.... I had worn my Windows Media Development fleece pull-over too, which kept me nicely warm up tight, and I just put a tee shirt over my lap as I was reading.

I wanted to warm up a little bit, so I juggled my soccer ball on the sidelines, which led to friendly conversations with various of the Ultimate players. One had been to San Diego recently, so we chatted about LegoLand (she hadn't been) and other cool San Diego-ish places to visit. One guy brought his tiny kid, Lucas. Lucas couldn't throw a frisbee for his life - he mostly just hucked it a foot at a time - so I started trying to teach him soccer, which was *much* easier for the poor tyke. He understood it pretty well, but kept toe-punching the ball for forward passes. I tried teaching him to kick with the side of his foot, but explaining how to kick with the side of your foot to a ~3 year old that you don't know is one of life's more challenging tasks. He got a couple good kicks off that way, but quickly regressed, and since he was happy enough punching the ball, I let him.

The Ultimate teams were short players and clothes. One borrowed a white shirt I had brought, and another borrowed my lovely Akira shirt (which I most sadly did not get back). They also invited me to substitute for their winded players, which I did... and then once in, I stayed in pretty much until just before soccer started, since their players were a little run down.

I had no idea how bad I was at Ultimate. I was one for two on *catching* the darn frisbee - I hamhanded an easy catch. Throwing was easier, but I only did that twice. Defense is always my bread and butter, though, and while I barely held my respectable own, I felt burnt. I was playing football cornerback man-on-man style defense, back-pedaling waaaay too much. After a while I settled into a drop coverage that was much more effective, but ... I think if they had been evil they could scored a billion on me. As it was, for some reason, we won, which was a nice feeling.

I got to talking with one of the girl players, who let me know that they had an on-line sign-up for people of all skill levels. When I've got a little more time - perhaps after the Fringe Festival - I think I'll do this. I've always wanted to get more familar with Ultimate.

Soccer went poorly. We'd beat the team (the Smalleys) 3-2 the first time around, but lost 1-3 this time. We've come to overrely on Jason - an admittedly great great player - on providing defense all by his lonesome. They were rushing five players up on him while we wren't providing much midfield help. I had an okay game for me - lots of good positioning and defense - but made a couple stupid passes. The only goal we got did come off a goalbox foul against me, for which we got a penalty kick. It felt good to get that goal, but ... we should have won. We're a better team than anybody in our division when we can maintain a strong midfield. Unfortunately, half our team is limping or hurt - and I was sucking wind after almost three straight hours of intense sports play - so we don't always recover well.

I got a ride home from Ryan and Tracy, which was nice of them. Ryan and I went to Redmond High School together - we graduated a year apart. I haven't talked to either much, but it was nice to chat with them on the drive home. They offered to carpool or whatnot in the future, which was nice of them.

Ow. Ow. Ow. I feel so beaten up right now. I didn't stretch much Wednesday night, and man alive do I feel it now. I've been popping ibuprofen all day long which has kept the pain down to a dull roar, but my back got all twisted up from ultimate and then further punished through soccer. I think I played 3 hours of ultimate and soccer with about six minutes rest all through that, and I really feel that now. I had come up limping late in the soccer game - a muscle knot in my calf. I had played through that for a little bit, but had to stop about five minutes later, and took an injury substitution as I hopped off the field. However, other people on the team were beat up worse. After I had had about two minutes of rest another guy left the field more injured, so I popped back on and played the rest of the game. My calf is a little pained still, but aaaaaa: my back is what's killing me. I'm so looking forward to Monday or next Friday or whenever my back stops hurting. I hope whoever I marry is good at massage...

And I don't get my car back yet! Because the dealership took too long, I dropped the car off a little late to the car stereo place - and now their schedule is off. Grawr.

On the plus side, I'm getting better at talking with cabbies and learning more interesting stories. Today on my way home I got driven by a Proper Lady who opened the door for me and helped me put my seatbelt on, which was nice.

Much much better. Megan came over last night to give me a back massage, and that combined with the ibuprofen has left me a little less cranky and irritable. The poor darling passes out with a vengeance, though, when it's her bedtime: it hit maybe midnight and she went from massaging my back to slumped asleep in my bed.

And we had fun when she came over... we played Big Boggle, which I haven't had a chance to play in a while. She wasn't competitive yet, but Boggle takes a couple times before you learn how to play. Smoking her tush in Boggle did make up in part for her beating me in Scrabble, I must say.

In the morning we walked (I still didn't have my car) down to the Brown Bag Cafe for brunch. That was a little weird. I never ate there with Sonja, but she did work there, and so I think a part of me will always consider it Hers. She's been a constant in my thoughts of late... I want to know she's doing well and having an enjoyable life out there. I wonder what's become of her, and it makes me sad that we lost touch so completely.

Anyways, brunch was good. After that my car was *finally* ready, so we caught a cab to Magnolia Hi-Fi, where Chance showed me what they'd done to my car.


First off, it just looks freakin' cool. You can hardly tell any work was done to it: the amps and two 8" speakers are contained in a box that seamlessly matches the rest of the interior - it just looks like they made the wheelwell too big on the inside back right of my car. So if you were prowling... you wouldn't see anything interesting. If you look at the inside of the doors through the vent slots, you can see some of the DynaMat now covering a good 1/3 of my car. That stuff makes a HUGE difference - just opening the door now sounds like opening a real door, not the door of some tin can on wheels. It's all subtle stuff you probably wouldn't notice if you didn't drive a Pathfinder every day, but it makes it soooo much more enjoyable of a ride.

Surprisingly, Megan was enjoying it more than I was, I think. I like a nice subtle effect, and Chance was pointing out how good it sounded LOUD. This is as opposed to the Art of Noise's The Seduction of Claude Debussy, which is what I was really looking forward to hearing. After we drove off, I put this in and was shocked: I've listened to that album many many times by now, and I'd never previously noticed the piano on one song, a rush of water in another song... this wasn't just a better musical experience, I was experiencing more of the music. Very very cool.

We headed off to (Edward) Gorey Stories at the Open Circle Theater, but they were sold out. Thankfully it's been extended to March 3rd, so we'll still have time to go.

I won't give up on love.

-Thompson Twins, "Get That Love"

Ah. Valentine's Day. My day. I officially declare Valentine's Day my Happy Day.

I figure people live too much of their lives scuttling under the seas of sensation, so I like to spice it up a little bit. I went out and bought a couple hundred dollars in chocolates and candies, along with a bunch of Star Wars and Wizard of Oz first-grade-style Valentine's Day cards. I put them in the mail slots of the people I liked. I liked the idea that that same mail slot - that most days just carries corporate news or industry news or legal documents or anything that helps your mind melt and your soul turn into black ice that the beauty of an ant skids across without ever connecting - that one day, at least one day of the years, it's fun and fascinating and maybe even tasty. I won't kid myself and think that a Star Wars's "You're One in a Million" and a box of chocolates is a surprise miracle, but it does bring a smile within the office context.

I think that's important. I was reading a while back about how the associations between certain realms were important; how, for example, Work stays in the office or at work, Romance/Sexuality might be predominantly in the bedroom, etc. Establishing certain boundaries like that - work and fighting stay *out* of the bedroom, for example - are good and helpful. But why keep fun out of work? Or romance for that matter? But that's a whole spiel on PDRL (Public Displays of Romance and Love) that either you get and can sing along with or you just don't. If you have a Love, celebrate it.

The only really odd choice for a chocolate and card was Hannah the Quirky. I only talk to her once every three months, but she makes me laugh. And that quality is of course worth chocolates.

My Valentine's Day date was too busy. I had soccer first, which went squeakingly well: we won 1-0 on a shot in the last 30 seconds by Heidi. We'd outplayed them otherwise all game long, and had two penalty kicks turned into indirect kicks by a pretty but very frustrated referee who did NOT want to be refereeing on Valentine's Day. The "best" part was that Wilburton Field (where we were playing) just got resanded, and they forgot to mark the sidelines... the sidelines are only demarcated by an uprising of dirt, and it's about five feet or so from where the sideline used to be. Since I've played at Wilburton a number of times, this was very confusing all game long.

Then I went home, showered and changed... which took me until about 9:30PM. Not a good starting point for a Wednesday date because most everything of interest has closed by then. But I called the Third Floor Fish Cafe in Kirkland, and begged them to stay open for us, saying we'd be there just a little after 10PM. I flew over to Seattle to pick Megan up. I had a very silly very salty Valentine's Day card for her that she liked, and snuck a big bouquet of flowers into her apartment that she also liked. She gave to me a nice card with a picture of the two of us, a big white teddy bear, a mix tape, and a tasty milk chocolate bar. We had fun exchanging these things, but I was antsy to leave for the restaurant - but didn't want to seem Too Pushy since it was a Valentine's Day date. Finally I got up the nerve to say we needed to leave.

We got there at 10:30PM. The valet service had shut down for the night, but I talked to the hostess enough on the phone trying to make this happen that after a brief confirmation with the cooks she sat us.

I think the date had to be at the Third Floor Fish Cafe. Where else could it have been? Il Bacio is small tasty and romantic, but shuts down at 9:30PM. I'm not aware of anything else on the East side that is of great date material. There's that seventh story restaurant in Bellevue, but that's looks too commercial, not sensual enough for my tastes. In Seattle there's a number of fine restaurants, but we had just been to El Gaucho, and likewise McCormick's and Schmicks. Most of the other restaurants I knew of that were open after 10PM in Seattle all had a friendly, Scene-ish feel to them... I just wanted a very sensual very tasty very soft very beloved dining experience, and the Fish Cafe seemed a great choice.

The waiter was very kind. I wanted some hot chocolate, which they don't normally serve, and he hand-made me some. Megan had some wine, which I like because she gets a little giddy - followed by very sleepy. There's something about her physiology where she crashes into a wall of sleepiness past a certain limit... It was a very nice meal. Soft and full and tasty - well worth my frayed nerves. The beautiful water view out the window was very pleasant. Dinner was relatively uneventful and we didn't really talk about Us much... I'm not sure if she understands my elusiveness, but I think she's come to respect it through a deeper understanding of who I am.

I'd left the waiter a pretty sizeable tip - they'd accomadated us half an hour past the normal close of their kitchen, made me my hot chocolate, and helped us have a to-me great outing. As we were leaving, he said to us, "Thanks for making my night." Megan said something about me getting that response fairly often, which was disturbing. While I don't mind being listed in Blah Foundation's Charitable Donors list, individual 'gifts'... those are between me and the person I gave them to. Just an easing of the pressures of the world temporarily, hopefully. I must try to be less conspicious. However, I have also gotten a sizeable raise, and that makes me feel yet more encumbered with wealth, so I've been a little more prone to generosity lately. I think of my brother on the streets, I think of me living in the cardboard bins, and I want so much to be able to help others out there, be it someone struggling on the streets or someone struggling in their everyday life, trying to make ends meet when they have years of student loans to pay off. I don't want people to miss out on the happiness they could have in this time, in this place.

He felt as if all his Christmases had come at once.

-Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

I've had two unrequited crushes in my life. I don't get crushes very often. What I like in a woman is what I find interesting in a woman. If I meet an attractive woman, she's attractive because I find her interesting, which is the quality of a friend. If she's really interesting/inspiring, I find her attractive - but it all starts with that friendship.

One - Jessica - I don't know if you could call a crush. I just find the woman fascinating. I find various people interesting or fun, but I've just particularly had a weak spot around her - she makes me want to be a better person, and I like the way she is. I'd like to understand her compromises, because the parts of her that are visible are very impressive to me.

The other woman - we'll call her "Sullen" since that was my early nickname for her - is about the same. I've only had dinner with her once (with a woman friend of hers that I was dating at the time), but I found her fascinating. I wanted to share the oyster of my world with her, if just to make her laugh. There was something about her personality that clicked with me. It's all probably a myth - if I ever met her at length, it would probably dissipate. Would it? Maybe. But still... it's a nice concept. She fits a lot of my criteria, and until such time as someone else fits more abstract criteria than her, I can think of her fondly when I think of the qualities that I like in a woman. "Unfortunately", she's been dating the same guy for almost ... four years now or so, lives in a different city, and is pursuing a course where we'll never intersect, so she remains just a pleasant concept in my mind. On the plus side, she got the nickname "Sullen" because when we first met out dancing, I thought she was unhappy (sullen)... turns out that she'd been flirting with me and me being a stupid guy interpreted it completely incorrectly. <grin>

So in my mail I get a letter I'm not supposed to open in public.

That's a good quality of a letter, I think.

I wasn't quite sure of what it was, but the sender - the friend of Sullen's that I'd dated - has a history of sending me the most particularly marvelous things - she's the Martha Stewart of Cool Mail - and so I figured it'd be something funny but perhaps a little steamy.

Within - good heavens - were a series of photos. The first was of her cat, and the next nine slowly descended in moral depth. They were all done very tastefully/artistically, but they are a little bawdy, and I like that.

I don't like Victoria's Secret catalogs. I don't find vapid-looking women attractive. I don't find women without personality and a soul attractive. I think I finally understand the crude brief bios that starlets or other "sexy" models give alongside photos selling their sizzle - without the steak, without a real mind backing that body, those pictures are no better than pictures of slabs of mutton. Maybe curvier, but representing no more attractiveness than ... a warm apple pie. Give me a model with glasses, pajamas, and cocoa reading a book in a big comfy papasan and maybe I find that interesting, but without that spark of individuality... it's not Attractive.

But pictures of someone I know is real, someone who has Soul - that's cool. That's pleasing. That brings a smile to my face and makes my day brighter. Plus now she can Know that she's sexy - she has proof for the grandkids now someday. <grin>.

That was cool. But the eleventh photo was puzzling. It was simply titled "the photographer". I didn't get it. Whoever it was, their face was hidden by hair and they were in good shape.

Then I read the letter and realized that I had succeeded as an individual and that all the rests of my days would be spent as a quiet decay from the apex of today...

The photo was of my second crush! The photographer who'd taken these slightly scandalous and oh-so-fun-and-funny pictures - it was Sullen! I was stunned. I laughed for quite a while in disbelief.

The fact that she'd felt comfortable enough to trust me with this mark of intimacy - it really truly touched me. It might mean jack to her, her friend might not have explained what the picture was for, but that trust coming from someone I hardly know - it touches me. Especially coming from her. It gives me hope that when I do meet the right person, that I might be a good enough person for her.

Megan and I finally got around to seeing Gorey Stories at the Open Circle Theater, and I got to have a perfect moment.

Megan and I had a nice curry dinner she'd cooked - with tasty mango chutney on a nom-ish bread. It was really very good. I don't usually like hard rices, but she did an excellent job of it, and so I liked it. She had a nice little plate of apple slices to snack on after courses... I envy her her cooking ability.

Gorey Stories was wonderfully done. It would seem improbable if not impossible to weave together the works of Edward Gorey into a pleasing script, but OCT pulled it off with style and flair - while at the same time remaining (if I may) Dreadfully faithful to Gorey.

There was a big line when we got there - probably twenty people hoping for at-the-door tickets. We had reservations ("I don't like communists"), so we got to breeze past everybody, which was a little disheartening since they were nice. While we waited for the lady to find our tickets, a gent commented upon looking forward to seeing this Richard Scarey production, which made people laugh. We kindly corrected him, but that did spin off into a pleasant discussion of the joys of Lowly Worm and his sole boot. Pleasingly, they had double-booked our reservations, so we were able to free up two more tickets for the scrabbling mob.

I like to be fed during the entertainment, so I sauntered off to the snack bar before we got our seats. I purchased a lemon bar and a couple froot juices and went looking for seats with Megan. Sadly, the place was jam-packed - I ended up sitting in a row behind her. That did let me pull her hair in third grade flirting style, but wasn't the most conducive to feelings of closeness. I quickly realized that a single lemon bar wouldn't be nearly enough for my hummingbird metabolism, so went back to the snack bar. On my way out through the narrow passage way, a woman was coming towards me. We both turned away from each other and tried to squeeze past each other... and bumped hips in passing. We both turned around and apologize at the exact same instant, and in that one second, from the dance-move-ish hip bump to the dual apology, I'd felt a connection, a Perfect Moment with her, and for the next ten minutes I was too shaken to really do much. I don't know who she was, but that symetry of action was incredibly powerful.

As regards the play, it was outstanding. They performed one story with song to the movement of shadow puppets, and another ("The Insect God") with song to an amazingly done lo-fi 1920s quality movie. They video-taped the performance - I think I'll try to get a copy so Kate can see what she missed.

Surprisingly, the best actor was an over-muscled actor who played the Doubtful Guest. He may have been a dancer in the past... there was something about his physique that screamed identity conflict when he first appeared on stage, but gradually he seemed more a warped part of the warped world than anyone else on the stage. Which is saying something, because the casting was amazing. I'm not sure if this could be produced again - the casting was superb - but I can certainly see this taking flight and becoming a cult classic along the lines of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Afterwards, Megan and I had yet another killer game of Scrabble I had *completely* forgotten that "qua" (my word) expands into "aqua" (her word), but got her to bite challenging "adz", and the subsequent lost turn turn of hers helped as I won with a ~320pt score. We've both been pretty good about breaking 300, which is amazing considering how tightly and evilly we play the board. Sadly, we both had rack "Bingos" (words using all your tiles) but couldn't play them due to the tight board.

I had a good day yesterday. Wrote my first "poem" in ages, which I'll end the days' entry with.

I keep waking up at 9:30AM. Ever since my new boss Brian said I should try to be in by 10AM... my body has listened, and I find it annoying. I want to be able to sleep in on the weekends, but my body will no longer let me.

So I sulked about my body's wakefulness and watched Phoenix Suns play the Utah Jazz. I really like watching amazing passers play basketball, and Jason Kidd is certainly amazing. Not as unbelievable as Jason Williams of the Kings, but Kidd has a court vision that's at times simply amazing. It was a good start to the morning... I hadn't seen a basketball game in months.

After that, I headed over to the Hi-Score Arcade for the 2001 Atari 2600 Championships. Man oh man, *that* was geek heaven. I got there to late to sign up myself - maybe next year - but did enjoy watching the them battle through Warlords, Combat, Bowling, and (for the championship) NWCGE Invaders. It was amazing to see twenty-year olds close to tears after losing at Atari. It didn't seem right. But the winners did get medals and all sorts of prizes - even the early round winners got cool ribbons. "NWCGE Invaders" was geek heaven. The Northwest Classic Gaming Enthusiasist club had hacked a Space Invaders cart such that you had a time limit (not a life limit), the aliens never drop down onto the bottom row and kill you, the aliens were represented by "N", "W", "C", "G", "E", and some random picture, and you were represented by the Space Needle. Now *that* was a fine hack. So the first contestant goes, and is doing really well - getting all the aliens, shooting the UFOs, racking up 6000, 7000, 8000 points - the score hides as the UFO crosses the sky with three seconds left to go - and he nails the UFO with a couple seconds left and ends up with 1280 points. The game hacker had forgotten about roll-over! Classic classic mistake, which I found highly amusing. Everyone managed to roll the game over, but the first player won the championship and now has his name on the trophy at the Hi-Score Arcade (plus a trophy joystick, an Atari t-shirt, an Atari space vest ... various cool prizes donated by ).

After that, I played some games at Hi-Score for a while, and realized how my dream of becoming the World Champion of Video Gaming is not to be. I did well, but ... I'm a piker. I'll enter the championship next year just to have done so, but I don't have any special skill. Aw well. I did sign up for the Air Hockey Tournament, though. Even if I don't win, the groupies will make it worth my time.

Then I went to 611 Summit, a little creperie across the street. I tried to get the waitress to read me the menu in an outrageous French accent, but she wasn't game. Oh well. I read from my KGB Bar Book of Poems as I et my french onion soup (only okay, but they do use a blowtorch to melt the cheese, which is cool) and a nice mushroom crepe. It was a nice relaxing meal. A couple girls sat down behind me and were talking with the waitress and were being very funny - my shoulders were shaking with my quiet laughter. They asked me if my book was funny, so I had to shyly explain to them that I appreciated their humor. They were very nice and personable... if I didn't bear the stigma of being a guy, I'd have liked to talk to them. But I did quietly buy their dinner for them as I was leaving, so hopefully they had a better day.

I was surprised to see it was 9PM by this time, which meant I'd missed the Hedwig and the Angry Inch show I was hoping to see. So instead I headed over to the Compline Service at St. Mark's.

It was very beautiful. I was struck at the beauty of striving for purity in the filth and squalor of this world, thinking about the moral compromises we all make, thinking about how the reason I really hate religion is that people use it to hide or ignore their hypocrisies too often...

Then the service was over and I waited by the door to see if my brother was there (he likes to go sometimes), but alas he wasn't there. I walked around getting a feel for the current clientele and was saddened to see that it really has become invaded by the "Ave Rat" crowd. The Compline Service is so quiet tranquil beautiful... a slow slow dripping of water into very still water... that it's aggravating to have noisy kids in the chapel afterwards. Then the organist started up and I was briefly transported by the beauty. Until I was wrenched back by the dreadfully loud talking of those around me. I felt so still and silent inside... it hurt that people would be that inconsiderate and rude. I kept thinking that they would clue in and go to hell, err, exit into the foyer, but they never did. I found myself having to ask them to be quiet or move on, which I found created frostbite upon my inner peace. I still had a beautiful time, but I wish I'd spoken up sooner. Maybe that'll be my epitaph: "I wish I'd spoken up sooner".

Walking from my car into the grocery store, a woman was sitting begging change. I asked her what it was for, and she explained that it was for her kids. So I took out a roll of twenties I had in my pocket and gave it to her and walked away. Her eyes got big and she asked me as I was walking away, "Is this a joke?" and I said, "No. Have a good night and take care of the kids," and went into the store. When I came out she wasn't there anymore.

Straw after straw placed upon the camel broke its back, but balloon after balloon carried Webster away into clouds of happiness.

"Dallas", or Erin confused

This waitress with the small mouth thinks I'm a guy. She's wearing a "Little Space Guy" shirt which is seemingly a Bomberman rip-off and I don't know how to tell her I'm not. I don't know how, but I wish I could breathe comfort and solidarity. So many interesting stories and lives we shut ourselves out of. I deliberately dropped $160 last night all around Capitol Hill for people to find - there's probably a story there, but I don't know it.

Warning: today's entry is generally adultish in nature and contains vulgar language without my little anti-swear word script (usually only Adult readers get the swear words).

Those power-crazed psychotic . But we'll get to that.

Today's "Jeopardy" Trivia Answer is Full Fat Sour Cream. The Wrong Answer to Today's Trivia Question is "Water".

So... Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday. Whoo whoo. I'd been thinking about inviting Tracy out to the "Hi,D" (Hi Comma Dee) show out the ReBar, but she'd just gotten back from San Francisco, so I figured that was out. Instead we talked for a while about what she was up to - it turns out she'd just been this past weekend to the Two Live Crew concert up in Everett. If anything, getting married has made her a wild woman. But she's always been a hoot.

Trivia Question Hint: I have sour cream up my nose and I LIKE IT.

She says strip clubs are a hoot. I guess that being part of the "fast-paced fashion world", she gets to see a lot of the grey lifestyle - she talked about meeting a pimp, Shaq's party where the "woman with the best body got $10000" so all the women were ripping their clothes off and jumping into the pool, etc. This is vs. me talking to her about going to see Gorey Stories, the Atari Championships, various theater, etc. - she said she doesn't Get me necessarily. I think we've drifted apart... I often take for granted that people understand my references, but my reference may be best explained by yet another reference, and it can become a vicious circle. We still can make each other laugh though. I'm sorry she's moving to L.A. - it seems we could open each other's eyes some. When we get together after she gets back from Detroit, part of the night will be something fun (my idea) and something saucy (her idea). I don't understand why I'm friends with ... very sex-friendly women, but I personally find it one of my best qualities. <grin> Naw. I'm a romantic at heart, so it titillates me that I'm friends with ... dominant/aggressive women (at least talkwise), but I do prefer fellow romantics for the most part.

Which brings me to Fat Tuesday.

Since I wasn't hanging out with Tracy, I thought about heading with Pat over to Pioneer Square, but he'd already left by the time I finished talking to Tracy. I headed over by myself, figuring I'd bump into some of my friends there. Not likely, as it turns out. I got there about 8pm or so, and there were already probably five hundred to a thousand people there. I got a couple slices of cheese at the local pizza shop, then stepped outside. They were selling beads, and I figured I as a guy should have some, so I bought a handful and then walked down the Pioneer Square strip.

Appropriate term. I gave a number of my beads away to women who didn't have beads and who just looked nice/pretty or were laughing, but... I went through a lot of beads. I got smiled at, hugged, kissed, flashed... it was a very friendly fun night. I even was fondled in passing by some random woman. Not something I asked for: I didn't know how to take it. One woman really wanted my glow-in-the-dark peace necklace but her boyfriend was right there behind her (not paying attention) and you could see her thinking about whether or not to risk flashing me (I hadn't named my price, but you could tell she was assuming it'd be the standard fare of a flash), but I was there for the fun, so I had her give me a kiss on the cheek in exchange for the necklace.

I don't think I Got That (Mardi Gras) before. I see all the "exploitative video tapes" of "New Orleans: Co-Eds Gone Wild!!!" and I think: b*stards. I can't believe they would do that. But then last night I saw women holding their shirt up, making sure the cameraman got a good shot. And so forth... it was a very deliberate choice on their part. Video cameras were *everywhere*. I saw many girls with video cameras or cameras. I asked a couple why they were recording the moment(s). One said because she has a brother, but most of the others didn't really have an answer.

Some women were indeed two blitzed to be accepting beads on their own behalf - one guy was helping hold his girlfriend up as she drunkenly exposed herself for beads, which I found a little crude. But that's me: I don't like to see people in positions of weakness.

There were various people perched in second or third story apartments. Some of them showed us their bodies, and I flashed one my body in return for some beads. Probably not nearly as interesting, but I felt like I'd taken a little illicit and fun step in my life.

Lots of people were just there to yell. They didn't have any beads themselves, but wanted women to flash them. That seemed to be against the spirit of Mardi Gras to me, but I'm new to this. I figure it's Pay To Play, so I gave beads to most of the women I was flashed by.

*Lots* of pierced nipples. That usually looked pleasant. In fact, generally the breasts I saw were very nice breasts... B or C cup, relatively firm... and some very nice bodies too. Lots of stomachs with those nice little muscle lines on the sides of the abdomen. Yum.

I had a bead necklace with hearts on it, and a luscious women vamped me for it. I'm a sucker for being vamped by attractive women. And it was a fun atmosphere, which bypasses all the negativity I associate with a strip club - the women who were having fun, got my beads. Pretty simple equation.

Women kissing women, some bumping and grinding... and even a women ... conferring with a Cunning Linguist on top of the a light structure in the middle of Pioneer Square. A nice wild night.

I ran into Allen's ex-girlfriend, but I didn't remember her name. She didn't have any beads yet, so I gave her a necklace as an Enjoy Yourself present.

Did I mention that I gave very attractive women beads? Some of them I didn't want to be flashed by, I wanted a tea date with. <grin>. I like energy and humor. One woman I liked enough that I bought a rose for her at the other end of Pioneer Square, but by the time I made it back to her, the rose had been beheaded by the crowd. <frown>.

I finally met up with Patrick at about 1AM. I'd already ran into his friend Keith, but I'd let them go their own way, since I was having fun where I was at. I had a lot of beads, and I was a generous/nice guy, so I got shown a lot of flesh... I think I'm a much-less interesting part of a fair number of pictures and videos. A number of guys started getting stupid and grabby, which was annoying... a couple girls rightly got angry and tried hitting the idiots.

Pat still had beads left and I still had beads left, and things were "starting" to wind down - only maybe two to three thousand people left milling about - so he and his friend wandered around figuring out who we wanted to give our beads too. Unfortunately, we never saw the right type of person, so just kept them. But we were treated to a very long strip/dance show by a second story apartment window - that even had a stripped pole.

Some schmoe climbed to the top of a nearby vendor sign (12" or so) to get a closer look at the girls and managed to fall down to the pavement, which helped disperse the crowd... stupidity kinda kills fun.

Which is the other half of the evening.

Lotsa stupidity. In front of me I saw two guys almost get into a fight because one thought the other had stolen his hat. I stepped in the middle and shortly thereafter the guy found his hat on the ground... stupid. Don't wear it if you don't want to lose it. And Just Chill, dammit.

People tore down and destroyed at least one of the traffic signal posts. I picked up a momento from it: part of the yellow (caution)-tinted glass. People had climbed up on top of most of the structures downtown. A few to flash their bodies, but most to scope out the scene. Catfights broke out over the course of the night, someone get hit full-on with a skateboard swung against their head, other major punishment. A car parked too close to the mess had all its windows broken - before 2AM or so when everything went bad.

About 2AM the cops started shutting things down. A couple flash-bang explosions to incite us to disperse. So Pat and his friend and I went up the street where we were out of the cops way. And then of course idiots flipped over the car with the smashed windows. And then tried lighting it on fire. Uncool. I spent a fair amount of time wondering if they had insurance, and what seeing your car again like that would mean to you. Sane people emptied fire extinguishers at the car, though, so it didn't blow up.

A short while later, cops fired smoke bombs in the Square, so Pat and his friend headed off. My car was back though the crowd, so I turned to go back that way... and then noticed the tear gas coming my way. Ow. That stuff isn't friendly.

I headed up the block to go around to get my car... only to find that riot cops had formed a human barricade blocking that way to my car. Great. Block by block I was pushed back, trying to figure out how to get to my car. Flash-bang grenade shrapnel hit my back, and a rubber bullet hissed two feet to my right. A couple idiots were throwing bottles at the cops still, so more tear gas. That's not really true though. The tear gas didn't come anywhere near the idiots. The idiots remained largely unscathed throughout the whole fracas. It was everybody else who suffered.

After I'd backed up three to four blocks, I stood in the bus shelter, hoping that I'd be allowed to go through and get my car. Instead, as the cops passes the bus shelter, they beat the guy next to me with a truncheon.

I turned to go.

That seemed like a really wise idea at this time.

And promptly got hit square in the back with that same asshole cop's truncheon as I was walking away.

Wow. THAT is so cool. I could so easily look in the mirror in the morning if my job was to hit people in the back while they were walking away from me.

So I stumbled as I got hit, got hit a little more as I was getting up. Because I was a little unsteady after being hit, I got pepper sprayed all over my back.

Bear in mind I'm just trying to walk away at this point. I get the point, I can't wait at the bus station even though no one is saying a word to us. No idea what's going on, but they're bigger and better armed than us.

Thankfully I had my coat, but they doused me with pepper spray.

This was police brutality/abuse of force, plain and simple. I'm WALKING AWAY and they're beating me and pepper spraying me. I've never been so unimpressed with my country. I continued walking away and they continued pepper spraying my back, until they got bored I guess.

I didn't run, true. I could have run and gotten away faster. But part of the problem with riots is that there's people running around wily-nily: it creates an artificial panic, and that further leads to the absence of sense and thinking. So I walked away with my hands up like a Good Boy, being pepper sprayed all the while. I'm dead fucking serious.

What power crazed idiots. Certainly the idiots who were throwing beer bottles at the cops should have been shot dead - but the rest of us innocent cattle just trying to get to our cars - why pick on us?

So eventually I ran into a guy who couldn't see at all from being pepper sprayed in the face after asking a cop some questions. Since the cops were coming up to us and were going to kick his ass *again*, I put my arm around him to guide him and we slowly stumbled our way to the nearest bus station so he could catch a bus.

Not happening.

After half an hour or so of trying to get to a bus station around the area the police had cordoned off - the pepper spray making him blind, my neck on fire - we finally found a water fountain. That felt gooooood for a little bit, but then it started hurting again quickly, almost worse than before. I offered to give him a ride home - we both just wanted to get OUT of there, both stunned to see exactly how Things Fall Apart. I carried a traffic cone with me for most of the walk - I figured I deserved a souvenir, and I would have *liked* to talk to a cop since they could tell me where a bus stop was. But....

We got to my car. He'd been blind the entire way - stumbling around, me trying to remember to call the curbs out to him ahead of time. I gave him some kleenex to wipe some of the pepper spray off with, but it didn't work for either of us. We got in the car, and I turned the air conditioning all full-bore, rolled the windows down all the way, and flew the car up to the U-District where he (Rob) lived. That open air felt *so* good against the pepper sprayed-skin. He called me an angel and was extremely grateful, poor guy. When we stopped to walk him to his house - he was still completely blinded - the lack of the wind from driving moving across our skin really hurt. So we bid a quick goodbye and went off to shower.

When I got back in the car, I tried calling Megan: I wanted to shower NOW, and she was the closet person I could think of. But she didn't answer, nor did my next call, so I flew back to the East Side in solidly intensifying pain. Ow ow ow ow.

As I said to the nurse on the 911 line, "pepper spray" is also known as "evil".

I FINALLY got home and immediately happily, almost luxuriously gotten into the shower. I even took a picture of my almost completely reddened neck before I stepped into the shower - it looked awful, so I thought I'd record the moment. I had been looking forward to this shower for a looooooong time. I showered and the sting got worse - as noticed before with the water fountain - so I got out my soap and scrubbed. And it kept getting more painful. I cursed myself for being a woman and got more Manly soap. And it got worse and the water is spreading the pepper spray over more of my body and more of me is hurting....

So I gave up at that point. I called 911 and asked whether I was having an allergic reaction to the pepper spray. I was in excruciating agony, and the normal cleansing method was extremely painful. I finally got transferred to Poison Control, who said:


Let's repeat that again: DON'T TAKE A SHOWER!

I didn't know. I wish I had. I really really wish I had. Ow ow ow ow ow. Showering (mixing pepper spray with water) makes it worse. Scrubbing? Makes it worse.

Trivia Question: What makes pepper spray pain go away?
Answer: Full fat sour cream.

I never knew. Not something you learn in school. I pitied poor Rob who was probably going insane with pain in his shower. I thought about driving back over to Seattle to straighten him out since I knew where he lived, but ... well, I was in too much pain. Sorry, Rob.

So I popped on my PJ bottoms and tore down to Safeway for sour cream. I can NOT wear a shirt at this point - too much pain so I don't want to touch anything on my body - so I throw a shirt over my shoulder and run into Safeway and of course some jerk has to say "Pull that shirt on!" and I look at this power happy asshole (again!) and think about saying get a no shirt/no shoes sign you fool if that's how you want it but instead just say exasperatedly, "I was just peppered sprayed. Where's the sour cream?"

So I tore out of there and sour creamed my neck, my shoulders, my ears, my nostrils... and I feel so much better now. Wow. I don't want to touch myself or remove the now-dried sour cream because I'm still a little afraid. Sour cream is my best friend right now.

I'm really glad I'm a member of the ACLU. I'll be calling them tomorrow. I don't care WHAT excuse the police are going to be using: buy some megaphones! Give us warning before you beat us down! I mean, beyond hitting innocents in the back with truncheons and pepper spraying them - which is an "individual" stupid act of violence that a number of people reported happened to them too - nobody understood what was going on. If it had been clear how to get to our cars, I think a lot of the madness and mayhem could have been avoided.

So I played John Cusack to Jeremy Piven in Say Anything for the last half an hour or so: yelling "You must CHILL!" repeatedly to people throwing bottles at the cops and what-not. I don't know if anybody listened, but I had the same feeling of horror as the old woman in Do the Right Thing. So much beauty wasted by so few but so complete idiots. But that's the whole problem with content protection as well: if people want to obey the law, a good society is possible. If not... then those few idiots destroy the fun for the rest of us.

This is the first Seattle Times write-up that I'm aware of.

God, is this a hint?

So Wednesday morning I finally get to bed around 6AM or so after finally riding out the pain of the pepper spray. I send my boss mail that I'm going to be in especially late if at all, and prepare to sleep the sleep of the beaten.

And woke up about 5 hours later to the earthquake. I popped into a doorway - I usually wake up quickly - and watched my apartment dancing to the quake. Vases and glassware and books fell, but nothing broke. At my office my toys fell over and a stained glass piece broke, but otherwise things were fine. However, our computer labs were in worse shape - some shelves collapsed under the strain of computer weight combined with earthquake ripples. Some of the pictures look really scary - people would have been very hurt if they'd been in front of those shelves.

The quake seemed extremely violent and went on for a long time. 10 to 20 seconds of major tremors about 60 miles from the epicenter is pretty impressive to me. Maybe it was longer, maybe it was shorter, but the whole "entire earth is giant Magic Fingers bed" notion unsettles me regardless. I was fine and felt safe - I'd been through this before so was just (actually) enjoying it - although I admit I was very impressed with the strength and wondering if my apartment building would stand up under the stress - but others I know of got *extremely* freaked out by the whole thing.

I would note that the stained glass piece of mine that broke was Frank Lloyd Wright's Parade: that marked the second time that day that festivities had been marred by violence. <grin>

So I finish work and go out to play soccer. For some reason, "Chico's Bail Bonds" is - perhaps in tribute to their name - a bunch of thugs. Clear across the field you see a guy on their team running behind one of our women players. He raises his elbow quickly into her back, knocking her down from behind. He gets a card. Another player of theirs runs into one of our players full bore. Another card. This jerk wearing #2 on their team keeps clipping my ankles as I'm running, knocking me down. I've got good balance, though, so don't always fall... so he ends up tripping HIMSELF and falling with all of his weight upon my left calf, dragging me down instanteously and extremely painfully. We'd been winning the entire game and were outplaying them handily, so they had to get cheap and thuggish. #2 (appropriate) landing on my leg *really* hurt, so I was down on the ground for a while in pain, trying to still the pain. After I got up, the referee (normally very loathe to give cards) stopped gameplay, pulled the captains aside, and warned them - and told them to tell their teams - that the game was getting ridiculous and that further violent play would result in red cards. It was so stupid. It's just a game - organized exercize.

So that hurt. Between the beating to my leg at soccer, bad sleep, and the police beating, I was limping about on Thursday. I slept through my weekly meeting with my boss - gah. And when I was sitting on Patrick's desk just chilling/relaxing/decompressing, it OF COURSE collapses underneath me, I fall forward and of course hit a chair with my only-recently-healed formerly-broken toe. I'm pretty sure I broke it again. It's all nasty and purple. I've taped it to my middle toe and it's been okay, but ... I thought I couldn't catch a break at all. Kate called from Australia but I was stressed and frazzled that I hardly wanted to talk. I needed to be under covers by this point surrounded by my guardian teddy bears. I obviously wasn't able to provide my own defense...

At lunch with the work gang David suggests that maybe I Shouldn't Have Been There and then I wouldn't have gotten hurt. I was incensed. I had carefully avoided trouble all night long, and it was only the cowardly law enforcement officials beating and pepper-spraying me without warning that was a danger to my welfare. It takes such courage to beat people with sticks when they're walking away with their back to you and you're wearing riot gear. And then pepper-spraying them as they're walking away with their hands in the air. This was to a guy waiting at a bus station maybe 5-6 blocks away from Pioneer Square. Yeah, if I'm in Pioneer Square, maybe you have an excuse for beating me like a pinata, but a guy at a BUS STATION? That's just sick. And maybe f*cking mugging victims shouldn't have wallets, etc etc etc - it's blind stupid blame-the-victim logic and it made my lunch go down coldly.

I want to, I need to relax by this point. Things are just going Wrong with a capital WRONG and I need a break. So Megan and I - after a conversation I really didn't need at this point - go out and do some errands because that can be relaxing. Less stress. She checks e-mail, I vacuum. We find me some new black Doc Marten's (evidently your shoe colour is supposed to match you belt colour - I never knew this but had to wear them out of the store now that I knew I was being unfashionable)), pick her up some basic lingerie from Victoria's Secret, pick up some Vampire game cards for Rachel, a new Deluxe Scrabble game (I already had a Scrabble game, but I had to one-up Megan), and a nifty Magic Wizard Potions set from Toys 'R Us.

So we go the Crazy Bird (now called the Copper Sky) up in Northgate and play Scrabble during our meal and it's good and fun. We had five challenges in the game ("fiz" - valid, "imputes" - valid, "leo" - invalid, "eden" - invalid, "ae" - valid), which is the most I've ever had. But she got stuck with some bad tiles with our usual very unfriendly board layout, and so I ended up winning by a wide margin. Surprising because we're usually within ten points of each other. Perhaps playing during dinner affected our play? - neither of us broke 300 (I had ~294).

Then we headed off to the midnight showing of Buckaroo Banzai at the Egyptian. A classic classic movie. I parked in the lit parking lot on Broadway across from the Performance Hall, and she paid for parking. We watch the movie, ha ha funny funny - "laugh while you can, monkey boy!" is always a hoot - and come out to my car with a brand new busted window where people broke into my car.

I've recently spent almost $5000 on my car stereo, so I'm just a little concerned.

They took - and this is an exact tally - one pair of highly used brown Doc Marten shoes (in new box), one matching set of orange Victoria's Secret underwear, and one Magic Wizard Potion set.

I don't get that. Were they interrupted? Was this an initiation thing?

If anything, I was laughing at this point. It's sad and f***ing pathetic - why bust my chops? However... I'd kinda been thinking that my car being broken into was the one thing that hadn't happened yet, so ... now it has and my week is "complete" and I can go to sleep and thank Pan that it's (likely) all over now.

On a grand scale, I don't get it. I really don't. Anybody who thinks the world is deterministic or rational is fooling themselves.

I'm still going to be the same person I try to be proud of being. I would appreciate a little better luck, though. I'm going to be working on Capitol Hill for two weeks (for the Fringe Festival), so I think I'm just going to leave my car stereo at home until it's all over.

I thought of spending the night at my parent's. My apartment is... "mine", but it's not the same without the magic happy sunniness of Kate being here, without the magic happiness of a girlfriend being here...

I wish that there was someone I could call and just have over and hold and recover with. Megan asked me if I wanted to cry - this was on Friday - , and I said that no, I didn't - crying is usually for me a sign that the stress has been lifted in some way, that the bad times are either over or has reached rock-bottom, and I don't have any comfort that it's over yet. I was right - it wasn't over. So tomorrow I can go get my window replaced. Whee. Rock on.

What a horrible week. "Without bad luck I'd have no luck at all"?

I'm going to bed now. I'm going to assume that everything bad that's going to happen has happened. I'm going to eat cookies and tarts this week and buy myself pretty flowers and wear pajamas and am just going to keep ignoring the world until it starts making sense again.

Pajama Days: Day One

A package, a VP sticking up for me and my employee (not quite a boy and his dog, but I'll roll with it), God Moving Over the Face of the Waters, Indiana Jones and the death of Sean Connery, and a great cuddler.

Yesterday I took it so easy several people mistook me for their prom date.

I got up about 1PM, sadly realized that no autoglass repair company was open on Sundays, and went to the Esoterics Lux concert.

In Neil Gaiman's Sandman continuity, Lucifer - the lightbringer - has quit Hell and started up a piano bar called Lux. So although I've always enjoyed the Esoterics - being one of the best a capella choral groups in Seattle - I definitely had to see Lux. I was hoping to detect the Satanic/mortal undertones of the music.

And the mortals! I ask you - why?
Tell me that - why?
Why do they blame me for all their little failings?
They use my name as if I spend my entire day sitting on their shoulders, forcing them to commit acts they would otherwise find repulsive.
"The devil made me do it."
I have never made one of them do anything.
They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them.
And then they die, and they come here (having transgressed against what they believed to be right), and expect us to fulfill their desire for pain and retribution.
I don't make them come here.
They talk of me going around and buying souls, like a fishwife come market day, never stopping to ask why.
I need no souls.
And how can anyone own a soul?
No. They belong to themselves...
... they just hate to have to face up to it.

-Lucifer, in Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Season of Mists

The music of Lux focused around the enlightment of the spirit and the world and was sung in many languages (pleasantly invoking Babel). But alas... the celebration of the flesh was not to be found. Although the program did make many references to scientific "achievement", which pleased my perverse sensibilities. Has science brought us good? Much of what science offers to us is based upon the idea of readily available resources that will be consumed as part of the bargain. People love to say that science holds the answer - the gas scares of the 1970s have been forgotten by most - but now in California for example we have rolling power outages and I for one am pleased. Drowning in garbage, running out of fresh clean water (bought a Brita or bottled water lately?), polluting the crops and livestock... it's the death of a thousand cuts. Hopefully people will tune in and the government will change direction away from the consumptive maw of corporate democratic capitalism, but I don't think that'll happen. I predict we'll continue to sacrifice the beautiful and valuable of the planet in exchange for short term comforts. I don't see a wholesale return to simplicity - Simplify, Simplify! - happening in my lifetime, however long that might be. Aw well. I will retire to my gardens when the time comes, and that will be enough for me.

We're a virus with shoes.

-Bill Hicks

I have oft wanted to be a monk, although I probably consider myself as more a Satanist (okay, perhaps more Gnostic, but still...) than a Christian (if I was forced... I'm largely non-theistic). I have the same problem with the Fall that I do with Star Wars. In Star Wars, what did the Empire ever do that the Rebels are fighting against? They're fighting, certainly, and Lucas plays upon cultural mythos beautifully, but... why? What reason for fighting does the Rebellion have that justifies the Endor Holocaust? The Emperor being ugly while Yoda is a cute muppet doesn't cut it as far as rationale when you're talking about mass extinction. The Empire destroyed Dantoine(? can't quite remember the name) - so both sides are even on the outset as regards planetary destruction, but overall the Empire was a better operation (I'd be remiss in not advising a peek at StarBears: Betcha Didn't Know: Crackpot Star Wars Theories).

Anyways - back to Lucifer. If Lucifer did rebel against God - and God would have known that this was going to happen, being all-knowing - perhaps that was the right thing to do. The mystic aspects of Christianity have always been laughable. The only cogent analysis/thought I've seen behind the removal of miracles from the contemporary era is in Larry Niven's Not Long Before the End - which would lead us to postulate that God as an agent is dead.

... do not think that I have abandoned God in my love of Life. It is merely that I understand - have been made to understand - that God is found in this Life and that to wait for another is folly.

-Dan Simmons, The Great Lover

I've been reading up on Egyptian mythology recently, and was reminded of the meaning of my favorite Moby song, "God Moving over the Face of the Waters". In Egyptian mythology, Amun plays a similar role - the breeze/stimulation rippling across the primeval matter, creating form and life out of this readiness. It's a beautiful thought - I've always been deeply enchanted by sped up video footage. The stimulation of creation ... that would be an amazing video project.

After Lux - which to me appropriately ended with a Chinese song mentioning nuclear fusion - , I went to get more fable/mythology books from the bookstore, and signed up for a massage at the InSpa facility at University Village. And since I'd had such a rotten week, I bought myself an ice cream sandwich and a brownie at Ben & Jerry's. I was still stuffing my face with the ice cream sandwich when it was time for my massage, but the nice lady put it in the freezer for me. I wasn't sure what to put down as occupation on my massage information form. Most times it'd be "programmer", and today I felt like "magician" might be good, but... I went with "pinata" in deference to the Mardi Gras cops. That pleased me.

The massage was wonderful. She gave really nice really deep massage, and the bed was heated. She was interesting and fun to talk to, too. She said she works down in the boatyards a couple days a week - to provide steady income - , which I found intriguing. Alas, she didn't know any pirate songs, though. She was sooo good. I had so much bottled up inside of me... I wanted to just reach out to her and pull her to me, just have her hold me for a while. It'd been a while since I'd been with someone that I felt that unguarded around, and it was so wonderful. I learned that a lot of my neck tension that I get at night is quite likely due to grinding my teeth - I'd never linked these two together before, but it makes sense now. The strange part of the affair to me was the realization that what I internalize isn't the negativity or anger - that has little to no hold or sway over me, it's the love, the affection. I have felt ... more dour recently, but I felt like being with her really got my heart back in the right place.

I'm busy for the next two weeks with Fringe, so I scheduled another appointment for Tuesday. Probably too soon for a second appointment, but I figured the first one was to get all the stress out, and the second one would help me actually feel good/positive.

After the massage, I picked Megan up and we headed to the Seattle Choral Company's Te Deum concert at Benaroya. Her friend from choir had extra box seats, so we got to sit in the fancy boxes. It was nice, but I've always been leery of heights, and the boxes when sat in seem like open air elevators in how shallow they are on the wall. The music was good; much more bombastic than the Esoterics but not as beautiful. They did have the Seattle Youth Choir dressed up in little red and white outfits which looked adorable - the kids looked to me like little peppermints, and that happy thought kept me smiling all concert long.

Unfortunately, I also got the major giggles during the concert. During one section of the music, they used cymbals. That left me thinking about cymbal practice. Your young child marching upstairs, 163 beats of silence, CLANG!, 3 beats silence, CLANG!, 3 beats silence, CLLLLLLAAANG! - repeat. Hee hee. How maddening that would be to the parents and the neighbors. That left me thinking about other weird instrument practice. An upstairs neighbor practicing sleighbells on Christmas Eve - downstairs kids eagerly rushing out to the windows every few minutes, then returning to their seats dejectedly. A downstairs neighbor practicing percussion for 1812 - particularly the shotgun blasts. I pictured the shotgun blowing through the ceiling and the upstairs neighbor jumping out of their easy chair screaming "MOTHERF*CKER! MOTHERF*CKER!" and so I just kept laughing throughout most of the Berlioz version of Te Deum.

On the positive side, I did take the opportunity to teach myself basic Latin during the concert. They had the English alongside the Latin, so by the end of the concert, I could almost translate the words myself. I did manage to figure out "Qui es Pater tuan?" myself - approximate Latin for "Who's Your Daddy?"

Afterwards we skipped out on the choir party in favor of a more private dinner at McCormick's. I brought my new fable/folk tale books and we read each other stories throughout dinner. It was a good and beautiful way to end the night.

My employee is having trouble getting his H-1B visa, so we're going to be jumping through hoops to get him on-board. But Chadd assures me that our VP will sign up to make this happen, so I feel better. It will be truly amazing after these long five years to finally have someone I will fully respect working under me. The technology can be hard and elusive... having someone knowledgable will be divine.

I got notice of an arrived package today. That's positive. And I got my windshield replaced. It was less than my deductible so I ended up paying for it, but I have enough money, so that doesn't bother me.

I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the Cinerama tonight. I was very much in the mood for it, and had actually almost started some Grail studies of my own this weekend (before I decided to concentrate on English folk tales and some more Egyptian mythology). The writing on the knight's shield was in Latin, which thanks to my study at the choir concert I could partially recognize, but they changed the camera angle before I could read it. Oh well. The movie stands up well over time - still a great story ("Indiana: let it go" being one of my favorite movie lines ever) - but I was surprised at how bad the film was. We take for granted nowadays the absence of white lines surrounding actors when blue-screens are used, but the Last Crusade had very obvious matte and model work at times. Perhaps the big big screen betrays the movie?

Michael Moore was credited as second unit directory on The Last Crusade, but sadly it wasn't the *real* Michael Moore. There was a guy with the last name "Button" who worked on the movie. I think this made up for the Moore disappointment.

One thought that struck me upon watching the film was the death of Sean Connery. Not his near-death in the movie, but his actual death. He's going on 80 now, I think, which is a solid age for a mortal. He's meant so much to cultural style - from Bond to the marked interest in Scotland - it'll be weird to see him go. I think a doctoral theses on the relation of Connery to growth in Scottish heritage organizations would be a fascinating study... Connery defined the Scotsman (allusion amusing but not intended) in my eyes as a consummate yet fierce gentleman. I'm curious to see who the post-Mike Myers definition of "Scotsman" will be.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

-T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Life's boring and futile. We start oaf wi high hopes, then we bottle it. We realise that we're aw gaunnae die, withoot really findin oot the big answers.

-Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

Anne's in town this week before she leaves for a vacation in Spain. Then she finishes up the school year, takes a job in Connecticut, and I wonder if I'll ever see her again and I wonder if that's a bad thing.

Hey, life is pretty stupid. Lots of hubbub to keep you busy, but really not amounting to much.

-Shakespeare as paraphrased by Steve Martin, L.A. Story

Anne and I went out to dinner last night. Happily we had sushi at Shiro's. One thing I can never question is that I like her taste in food - I think part of why I miss her when she's gone is that she's a great reason to go to the restaurants that I most like. I still like spicy foods much more than her - she had one my spicy tuni rolls (pre-wasabization, at that) and the poor darling almost passed out from the spicy heat.

When I'd gone to the bookstore on Sunday to pick up more folklore/mythology books, I'd had a lunch and some beverages at their little in-store cafe. They were selling "Elouise Pink Hot Chocolate", so I picked up a canister. I had that, plus two roses I'd taken from the dozen in my office, as I picked Anne up. I gave her and her mother a rose apiece - I hadn't seen them in a long while and it seemed like a lovely thing to do - and gave her mother - a dyed-in-the-wool Elouise fan - the Pink Hot Chocolate. She was most very pleased.

Anne and I haven't been talking much if at all lately. We've exchanged ~2-3 e-mails in the past months, and one quick letter. I figured it was very good for me to get her out of my system. I likened our relationship to several people as that of Gillian Baskin and Tom Orley in the Uplift series by David Brin... Gillian and Tom are almost perfect together - they may even have quite literally been made for each other - but they end up spending their lives worlds apart due to the workings of infinite chance.

Everything reminded Gillian of Tom. After two years, his absence was still a wound that left her reflexively turning for his warmth each night. By day she kept expecting his strong voice...
Then, without realizing it, she began thinking of Tom in the past tense.

-David Brin, Heaven's Reach

It was really easy to not think about her and let her go when she was several thousand miles away. Then I saw her yesterday and quickly realized why I like her so much.

To me: We connect across such a breadth of ourselves. We're good foils for each other, we're smart and mentally quick enough for each other, we challenge each other acceptably, we have similar interests and curiousities... it was about five minutes into seeing her that I wanted to take her home and keep her. Not jump her - no spark - but just keep her close to me since obviously she's a remote part of myself anyways.

Unfortunately, I also realized what drives me crazy about her, why friendship is difficult: we connect in breadth, but not in depth. Last I checked I was one of the people she trusts most... but I don't think she talks to anyone truly. With Kate gone, I'm still foundering for someone to truly talk to - I've been talking with a variety of people and writing in my journal more - but I'm still trying to communicate. I've been getting a lot closer with Rachel because of lack of Kate-ness, for example.

I wore my black socks with the masks of Tragedy and Comedy upon them. I thought that very appropriate because I believe in Comedy, and I think Anne believes in Tragedy... together, we have drama.

I think I'm truly, fully, and finally over her now. One of the best signs of this was that she - unique to my life - had the ability to get me hot and bothered just by who she was, just by talking to her. Nothing sexual, physical - no touching whatsoever, just talking with her and drifting in the flow of her made me so deeply pleased that I wanted to be as intimate with her as two can be. That wasn't there last night. I'm sure if I'd gotten physical with anyone last night, I would have been thinking about her instead - it took me a couple hours to unwind after seeing her - but.... Her presence made me want to be her friend and convince her to believe in Comedy, but I think this time I wanted her to have someone for herself who wasn't me.

It was odd talking with her. In the past she's accused me of noticing or pointing out sexual wordplay too often. It's a fair cop - English is rife with sexual wordplay and I have a quick enough mind to catch most of it. Last night, however, I was being pure and chaste in tongue - sex was completely off the table - and she was the one who kept bringing it up. 'Twas weird.

She's taking a job in Connecticut. She really wants to work in Seattle, but it hasn't been working out. It looks like she'll continue not to be part of my life. I think I expected that, but seeing her briefly made me really conscious of the friendship potential between us that I think we've been wasting. Oh well. I can only hold up my end of the bargain.

I'm sick. I stopped by to give Angela one of my roses (since I was giving Anne and her mom a rose from my dozen, I had to give someone else one to make it a perfect nine remaining), and in that brief ten minutes of contact I think I caught whatever was making her miserable. It's just a tickle at the back of my throat now, but I'm on my guard. This is bad going into hell-week at work combined with all the volunteering at the Fringe...

I wish I worked in an all-female office. I'd love to be able to have cookies and flowers and share them. I still don't feel right about sharing my roses with other guys... that just seems Taboo. As it is, I can share them with women at work who have boyfriends/husbands, which is a start. I just wish there were more people readily available to be nice to - I usually have so much positive energy, and it's so nice to see people smile.

Two people have made comments about my journal that rightly chastise me. One, that this is a terrible lay-out. Very much agreed. I've been Meaning To move to something more friendly, but haven't got around to it yet. Two, that some of the links are broken. Also agreed. I moved most of my personal website home (most had been stored at work), but haven't moved it all yet, and it's all a terrible hodge-podge and I need to get on it as soon as I finish everything else I'm ever going to do before I do that. :) I'm linking less often now that I don't have a big monitor and a blazing connection to multi-task with, and probably making more tipos since I don't have that cool little MS Encarta Dictionary QuickDefine functionality here to quickly check things with. Plus I edit in wordpad (notepad on NT, but at home I'm running WinMe), so I don't get a "free" spell-checker.

We lost at soccer tonight. The other team was - sadly as getting to be usual this season - a bunch of jerks with way too much attitude who kept whining to the ref. Admittedly, he was a terrible ref, but ... it's just a game and they were winning anyways so it didn't really matter too much to them when he made bad calls. So we're out of the play-offs. Oh well. Next season we should be back in the championship game again, as people recover from their injuries.

Massage is great and all, but we really need 1-800-CUDDLE. You can rent an escort - I find some of my richer friends joke(?) about this a little too much for my tastes - but ... cuddling is something else. I was talking with someone else who's having a hard work (well, my hard week was last week)... sometimes it's nice to just be held, and if you're a cuddler and your friends are not... :P. 1-800-DIAL-A-MOM? Warm blankets, hot cocoa, love and understanding?

Work is going insane. I have five projects due immediately, and on top of that the Fringe starts today. ACK. But my new employee should be here next week (cross fingers), so I should be able to get him ramped up and offload some of the work to him.

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