Living 'softly.
a look into Zach Robinson
"We've only ever kissed.", Buttercup to Westley, Buttercup's Baby

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  • Thoughts on college, failure, and success
  • Absence of close friends
  • Ken Goldstein, Pool Shark Of Love
  • Days 2-3 of Legoland trip

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    Previous archives: Start (3/97). 12/99. 1/00. 3/00.

    If you are HTTP RFC savvy, you'll understand that today is World Finance Day, and tomorrow is World Answer Day. That is, today is "403" which according to the HTTP RFC is "Payment Required", while tomorrow is "404", or "Not Found".

    I sat outside today at the pool behind building 25. Behind the cafeteria there's a little waterfall pool surrounded by rocks. It was nice and sunny so I ate my lunch while dipping my feet in the water. It would have been better if we had ducks.

    I haven't been able to sleep lately, so I've been reading a lot. Last night I started Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City. I had a couple more chapters to go today, so I took it out with me to the pool. I was reading it as I walked downstairs. Pretty much everyone who passed by me did a double-take on the book title - it has "SEX" in big letters - but no one ever said anything. It was weird. I wonder what they thought I was reading? "Hmm. I've coded that new feature, I'm off to read Forum now..."? The book is a great insight into the ... relationship scene among the upper middle class of Manhattan. It was fascinating seeing the reasons why people would or would not get involved in any given relationship. I've felt that I've needed to be more mature than I've been these past years, and yet in Candace's book the mid-twenties are really your social infancy.

    I'm currently in the long process of deciding where I want to purchase a place to live. The practical part of me thinks that somewhere in Carnation or Duvall would be nice - it's largely sheltered from the overpowering City and you get more house for your dollar - and part of me thinks that I should be a little more immature and get a place within the City, maybe lead a more carefree and funky lifestyle. But if I was going to get a place in the City, I don't think Seattle would be the best option for me. I've lived here too long. It would be easy and comfortable, but while the people would be new, the area/scene wouldn't be. Things have been very easy and comfortable for me for such a long time. I'd rather have some shake-up. Marie has offered to help me find a place in Portland. I have liked Portland, but it seems far too close to Seattle for my comfort. Unfortunately, the next option on my list is the Bay Area, and that's where things get mighty expensive again right quick. One thing I've noticed is that I really tend to think coastal. The only non-coastal cities I've thought about I've only really considered due to their basketball entertainment value. Which is pretty stupid given that I've only been to three basketball games in the past several years. What draws you to a city? What draws me to a city? Everyone I know is here, but my love doesn't seem to be, so maybe I walk away from what I have for something new?

    I'm not good at walking away. I always want to wait and give things a chance. But sometimes you've got to cut the cord, sometimes you can't expect people to ever clue in.

    I've subsumed myself in work lately. I've been kicking *ss and taking names and it's been noticed. I've done this kind of thing before, but this will be the first time I've done this in large part because of the fiscal opportunity and not so much the cameraderie. It's not reflective of the larger group, but I'm the last original member of the team I joined six months ago (besides Kirt). With so much hard work and not a lot of socializing, I don't feel very close to the other members of our team. I'm a lead now, I should probably do something about this... but where's the time? Who does my work while I go off and plan or attend a foray? I'm going to have to quit just so somebody else really *does* have to do my work. Anyways, my thought has been that I'll see how this August's review goes and then figure out whether I'm going to stay at Microsoft, in the area, or head out somewhere else. That's also when my lease comes up, so it's pretty perfect timing all things considered.

    We had a Slacker Friday this past week where we all went to see High Fidelity (the first movie I'd have to call blackly romantic), and had an unwinder party (free food, beer, and toys) afterwards. Chadd and Kirt dragged me down to it. I wasn't feeling very talkative, but I did get engaged in a couple conversations about where to live (Gabe has a house in Carnation) and Cusack movies. But these were all people that I don't have much interest in seeing outside of work. With Chadd and Kirt, I enjoy them and view them as friends, whereas a lot of the other people I view as acquaintainces. It's not that they're bad people, it's just that I don't *like* acquaintainces: either you're a close friend or I don't talk to you. There's no in between state with me. Maybe I don't talk to someone for a couple months, but when I do talk with them I view them as a close friend and feel I can trust them with most anything.

    People I don't trust, people I don't want to share things with... I just don't talk to them much.

    So... I've been working weird hours and the people I've been seeing at work aren't the people I'd consider friends so I haven't been terribly enthused. The player development team that I get along better with is on a different floor, while I'm stuck here in the ivory tower. It was fun to mock them for a while, but I have so little interest in server or tools code nor the people who work on it. Yes, the player code *is* more glamorous, and it takes a different mentality in my opinion to be really good at it. Or maybe the guys that work on server/tools code just aren't my type of people.

    A couple of my closer friends are hinting at leaving the team within the year. The whole team has held together amazingly well since its inception, but some of the late-comers are thinking about parting ways. The core nucleus - including Chadd and Mark who wrote the first rev of the server powered solely by beer - are still here. If they took off, I'd be much more prone to leave. But that's letting someone else make my decisions for me, which I'm ever so good at. I mean, really, what have my decisions been? I chose to go to LegoLand, chose to go to the Buffalo Tom concert (Aug 22nd in Rhode Island)... I skipped the once-in-ten-years Art of Noise in London because I had Too Much Work... basically, I've chosen to be a cog/consumer. What's my value-add to the world right now? That's rhetorical: I know the good I CAN do, I'm just not engaged in anything much beyond work right now, and I'm just jumping with joy at the prospect of our player's beta release, where I can wind down a little bit and maybe dance.

    Is this why I was so happy to see Lisa recently? I saw her, and really wanted to hang out with her - she left in a quick rush from the party since she had to be elsewhere and I didn't quite get her phone number. She's always seemed to make her own way in life, and maybe that's a skill a covet. I should, at least.

    I stopped writing in this journal for a while. I just needed to mull things over internally before I tried putting them down on paper. I've had so much on my mind. The journal helps me chip away at them, but I felt like I needed more of a jackhammer to get at some of the issues - like my feelings of indecisiveness - on my mind.

    Maybe I'll make some World Answer Day resolutions. I've been doing pretty good at not taking any cr*p. Usually I don't stick up for myself enough. I've been better at protecting myself, but now I need to speak up to the people who are being mean to me and tell them to just f*cking knock it off. My brothers are always good at giving me this kind of advice, but it is so much easier to do when you don't actually have to have the confrontations yourself.

    But then as soon as I gear myself up for confrontation... I'm too amiable, I'm too willing to see both sides of the argument, and I can't hold my anger. I'm too nice, and I let the little weasels burrow their way back into my life.

    I was listening to the hidden track at the end of Jason Webley's Viaje where the spoken voice talks about how what you do comes back to you tenfold. This was painfully reminescent of church to me. My dad would give me a couple dollars to put in the collection plate, telling me that you would get in return seven times what you gave to the church. Since those are pretty concrete numbers, I bought completely into the proposal, although I never did understand why I wasn't getting money back. It makes me feel pretty silly in retrospect, but at that young of an age (six? seven?) I don't think most of us have much skill at discerning what is or isn't figurative speech.

    We (Cynthia and I) were playing Scrabble because it's fun and things weren't getting out of hand. I let her spend the night because I like her a lot. Things are generally pretty tame between us: there's a lot of *connection*, but chemistry is still the issue.

    I guess I'm still pursuing thing with her because I feel like I should be attracted to her: she's so much of what I want, and there really isn't enough time to spend with her... I never get tired of stuff to do with her.

    I'm not finding myself truly excited about her, though. What happens with this? We've been toning things down and we've talked: I wanted to make sure she understood where I was at: I feel like there's a lot of possibility here but I'm still unsure of how I feel- things have to progress further before I'd want to really pursue things. It's weird. We've been going out on dates for a while now, but this is really the slowest I've ever taken things.

    So that's where I'm at with her. I don't know if I'll find excitement with her or not. I'm going to give it a bit because I like her so much: she does lots of little tiny things that delight me: I like to think she's the best of me and and one of my exes put together : but at this point I'm still single and am not sure where things would be if we forced the issue. I kind of did a bit ago, but it looks like we're both a little confused. ?

    I'm trying to approach this relationship with oodles of caution. Am I too ... scared to truly invest in a relationship, since my recent past hasn't been exactly stellar? Or are things not there? I don't know, but I'm trying to find out.

    An excerpt from reviews of our new Windows Media Player 7 alpha (Not Yet Ready For Beta) release:

    "This program has a TON of new features. You can import playlists, organize your music, get information on the song/artist you are listening to, and tons more! It is a pre-beta remember, so it's only a preview. The new interface rocks, and the skin support is fantastic. This is a HUGE improvement over the older Media Players. Probably the coolest thing is the media library organization. It sorts the songs according to the MP3 Tag, so it sorts by artist, album, can select an artist and view all of the songs you have by that specific one. Rock on Microsoft!"

    "Color me impressed. I've been looking to get to the better sound of WMP over WinAmp for a while now (WinAmp's decoder adds a concerthall-like effect to the sounds, which works with Mozart but not with Metallica), and this is EXACTLY what I have been needing. A slew of new features, from unique skins to new sorting methods by album, artist, and genre, are sure to push the entire MP3 player market to adopt them. Microsoft gets criticized for the way that they often handle new products, as they seem to steal ideas, but this one shows that they have a few people with enough vision to take the lead in some of their development."

    If a boy had a chance
    A chance with someone like you
    Are you going to break his heart?

    Are you hiding somewhere behind those eyes?

    I just freeze everytime you see through me

    -Icehouse, Electric Blue

    It amazes me that in all the hubbub and rubble of life, that when two people with chemistry and compassion and respect and understanding come together, they still find some way to ruin it. I'm going to go buy a pair of white formal gloves to slap and challenge to a dual the next person I find being stupid in a relationship. I'll probably pass out from exhaustion, though, given how few people I've seen make good relationship choices in the past several months (years?). The lone solace in my voyeuristic view of affairs is that Marie has finally met someone really special. I tap-dance for her sake today.

    Road trip!

    I went to see Buffalo Tom last week. They were playing at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. I simply had to go, as I would have been shamed to have missed both Art Of Noise and Buffalo Tom in the same year.

    I figured I'd take the time to explore New England some, so booked a six day trip. Of course, work was going into overdrive at that point, so I ended up working ~100 hour weeks - with taking days off. Heck, I've put in 40 hours so far *this* week, and I've only worked two days. The guy working for me was going to cover my job while I was gone, but that's a completely different non-cheerful story and right now I want to talk about Great Fun.

    So my trip...
    It started off really really weird. I've been talking to Andrew again recently. It's always a little unsettling talking to someone you hero-worship, I find. Anyways, as I'm dragging my suitcase from my office to the car, of all people in the world I run into ButtCut (her affectionate nickname) - one of the two girls Andrew was involved with back in junior high 'n' high school. Dumb luck! It turns out she's worked in my building for about 6 months now. I didn't have any time to talk to her, but it'll be interesting to see what she's been up to.

    Next I missed my plane. Really, it wasn't my fault: the driver was an hour late, and I was so bogged down rushing to complete stuff that I didn't notice the time. So I got to the front desk at 7:53PM for my 7:55PM flight. The attendant laughed at me, made me wear a funny hat (a woman after my own heart...), and booked me on the next flight due to leave two hours later. I slowly walked to the gate, picked up some food, talked on the phone with friends, went to the bathroom... and realized my plane hadn't left afterall - so happily straggled onto the plane. Ha. Everyone else had to wait and probably got pissy, whereas I was overjoyed the plane was leaving so 'early'. Life throws some odd curves.

    200 Years of Bad Movie
    I watched Bicentennial Man on the flight out. I don't mean to imply that I hated this movie because that wouldn't be fair. I loathed this movie. I should step back a second to provide perspective. Bicentennial Man was based on a story by Isaac Asimov entitled The Positronic Man (TPM). I'm a big Asimov fan, but most people have read Foundation, which is a fairly accurate look at this general writing style. TPM is about an android becoming a human. It's an interesting story. Asimov's Laws of Robotics are an interesting backbone to thought about artificial intelligence. (Mind you, you *must* accompany a look at the Laws of Robotics with a gander at Jack Williamson's The Humanoids, but I'll leave the parameters of artifical intelligence to the experts, Asimov and Williamson just do an excellent job of giving you something to think about.) The First Law Of Robotics is "A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." That's pretty simple stuff, really. And when you make a movie about a book which has at its logical core, hypothetically, three Laws, you think maybe you should bear those Laws in mind when writing the script? I mean not to say that a robot KILLING a human being would completely violate the First Law of Robotics, but hey! it does. So as an adaption of the book, I was UNimpressed. It seemed disrespectful to a great author.

    And as a movie... what the f*ck? I love romantic comedies. I love romance. It's part of my soul. So when I see a romantic movie, I'm happy. But when I'm watching Bicentennial Man where a preponderance of the "romance" is talking about how much fun sex is, I'm just excited. Chris Columbus needed Nora Ephron or her like to come through and rewrite the script. As it is, there's some romantic build-up... and then it just drops dead and it's about sex and I'm unhappy. I think I'm going to have to watch The Princess Bride to cleanse myself.

    You Want Pneumonia With That?
    So I got into JFK about 8AM. The black woman at the shuttle counter was named D. Robinson (my dad's initials), so we talked for a while about our families. It was a nice change of pace to talk to a New Yorker that smiled lots and laughed easily.

    I took a ride on the Connecticut Limo service (big vans) down to New Haven to meet up with Anne. It was raining.

    We finally reached New Haven and I got my bags and prepared to walk to Anne's dorm. Did I mention that it was raining? Now I'm not one to complain. I like rain, I love rain, I breathe the charged sexuality of rain, rain makes me want to ... keep a girlfriend up at night. But this was a lot of rain. I'd have to have been 18 again to keep up with this much rain. It was a several mile walk in this monsoon to reach Anne's dorm, and I realized halfway "There" that I had no idea where I was going, as I recognized none of the landmarks. I ended up just taking one wrong turn, but it's not heartening to be lost in a torrential downpour where the only thing you recognize is the shape of an Impala in the junkyard to your right.

    I finally got to Anne's dorm... and no one was there. I waited outside for a bit for someone to let me in, but no one was even entering the building when I was there. I gave up and was going to go get some donuts when Anne's roommate came back home. Dumb luck. So I stripped down and got into some warm dry clothes, and fell asleep waiting for Anne to return. Or tried to. The reality is that there's certain people my heart jumps at seeing, and she's one of them. So I'd sleep fitfully for thirty minutes only to hear someone coming by - at which point my heart begin pounding like all-get-out. I always pretend to be asleep when someone comes in upon me when I'm lying down because I like to see how they treat me - I really like it when someone curls up behind me to share in my relaxation. Honestly, though, I'm hardly ever really asleep. I'm just an evil glutton for cuddling.

    After a long nap - she was exhausted from school, me from travel - we went out to a Jamaican restaurant. It was pretty good, but both of us were stuffed so we just hurried back home to sleep.

    And The Horse You Rode In On
    Well, of course, we didn't *just* sleep. When ex's crawl into bed together, there's a fair chance that Something Happens. And boy did it. We got to have The Talk. See, we broke up way back in November of last year. We'd smooched & co. since then, but there was nothing between us, relationship wise. She keeps feeling that *I* feel differently. It's terrible. She keeps thinking that because I think she's wonderful, that somehow that means I'm jealous or possessive or ... I have no idea. She just thinks I'm something that I'm not. So it comes out that she thinks I'm Perfect and Too Nice To Her and etc., all the words and phrases people use when they aren't in love with you, and I'm just sitting there puzzled, trying to figure out where this is going. Then internally I finally understood, I think. She wants to date this friend of mine, she wants to date this other guy... she wants to date *Someone*, it just isn't going to be me. And this is Big to her, I think, this bothers her. Whereas to me... why do I care? Don't get me wrong here. If I could take a chisel to her, change two critically important pieces of her, I'd be forced to woo her. But she's not that person. She's Anne. She's Kate with less communication and more chemistry. She's my friend, and the reality is that we don't work for whatever reasons. And here I've been asking her for months to be straight with me, to tell me what she feels, and only now does she have the courage to say these things. It's so bothersome. I feel so left in the dark when all I've wanted to do is to be a friend.

    So I got up to go sleep on the couch... and she says don't go. I stayed and we talked more, and we feel asleep in each other's arms. I felt so hurt and trapped... she's got this picture of who I am from the first couple months in the relationship when I *was* trying to woo her, and somehow this has permanently tainted her picture of me, so to her it seems I'm a friend with an Agenda. That *kills* me. Anne, dear Anne, what kind of fool do you think I am?

    Don't answer that.

    Providence: The Concert
    So Saturday we headed up to Providence for the concert. We had rented an Alero for the ride, and I must say that you should avoid these like the plague. They are great cars, but they are BING! addicts. Our car BING!ed *11* times each time we turned it on. That was frickin' annoying.

    When we got into Providence we saw a giant golden Mr. Potato Head. I was happy. (Mr. Potato Head is the official Tourism Ambassador of Rhode Island.)

    So Lupo's... avoid this place. It's just a bad concert location. Geoff at work says they've been around for a while, which is reportedly rare in Providence. I think they've lasted because they spent so little on furnishing and sanitation. It's basically a quadruple-width racquetball court with a 1/2 wall in the middle to divide the "stage" area from the "bar" area. The "bar" area is full of cracked stickyish wood benches. The bar area has a thin back door which leads to another bar, which had music of its own playing... clearly audible through the aforementioned thin back door. So when we got there (~10 minutes) before the show, we had the bar music, the stage music, and the next-door-joint music all vying for our attention.

    Lupo's is a dimly lit joint. It's a dive. Anne is fairly paranoid, so the first twenty minutes or so seemed to be focused on her trying to relax. I kind of wanted to go the bathroom, but it was made clear to me that I would not be abandoning my date without getting my ass kicked (Anne is tough). So I held it. All night.

    Some random band opened for them. It was ... country twang rock? I'm not good at identifying musical styles, so I'll just lump them into the "Bad" category. I wish I'd known there was an opening band. Anne and I were both ready to do *anything* to avoid having to listen to even one more song from these guys. We both clapped quietly when they said "And this is our last song...".

    Finally they finished, and the crew started getting the stage ready. Somebody wandered out with boxes of Buffalo Tom t-shirts, so I bought a bunch. I got one for Rich, one for Anne, one for me (I loooooove mine- it's almost the color of this web page), and one for... ... ... Umm. I'm not sure. I still haven't figured out who it was for. I thought someone else had asked me for a t-shirt, but no one has stepped up to claim it yet. Hmm.

    And at last Buffalo Tom came on! I was fairly worried that Anne wouldn't like them (she spent the Harry Connick Jr. concert reading a book...), but surprise of surprises she actually really liked them. I was ecstatic to see BT live. They gave their all on stage, played all their best songs, established some audience rapport... they were a great band. But the sound quality in Lupo's was so bad, it was painful to listen to. Such an awesome band, such great songs, all coming through an overtaxed sound system. I felt a little sickened by it. Ah well. I've got the memories of the concert and the good CDs... I'll just combine the two and try to repress all memories of the sound at Lupo's.

    We went to the Capitol Grill afterwards. This is a nice place, I highly recommend it. It is a little smokey (cigars too), but it's a place where the local SYUPpies (Swank Yuppies) hang out, so it was fun to crowd watch, as well as enjoy the great food. Anne and both ate way way more than should have been healthy, but it was really good. It was a lot of fun to people-watch, and Anne and I had much fun critiquing a particularly shallow-seeming bleached blonde. The two of us had a table for six, so we later let part of a different group sit at our table. He offered to buy us drinks. It would have been nice to strike up a conversation with them, but Anne and I were both pretty tired so we declined and just continued enjoying the nice night together.

    Zzzzzzzz... bleah!
    I don't think either of us slept less than ten hours any day we were together. Which is weird because Anne is a notorious insomniac. We would wake up about 8AM or so, groan, and go back to sleep for a couple more hours. And whenever we got to the next bed and breakfast, we would take another nap. I hadn't realized how wiped out I was from work.

    So Sunday we got up and headed to North Stonington, where we were to stay at the John York House. Unfortunately, they didn't appear to be around to let us in, so we first took a nice walk around Green Falls. Then we checked back and they still weren't there, so we headed to Mystic to explore. We both were pretty hungry, so we stopped at the local Japanese joint. I'm a big fan of sushi, so I had the Spicy Tuna Roll (my favorite sushi dish). This turned out to be a large mistake. Don't eat sushi at small town Japanese restaurants unless you're *sure* about it. For the next twelve hours my stomach did loops. I even got sick next to a toy store. That's sad. "sick" and "toy" shouldn't be connected in any fashion.

    So by now it was quite late and the people at the John York House still weren't home, so we ended up getting a room at the Six Arms B&B in Mystic. The proprietor is cool but odd. He stayed up all night working on a sculpture, and would repeat minor things. I think we caught him at a bad time. The bed was really comfortable though. Anne told me how she liked to be massaged, so I gave her a foot massage for a while. I like to masage people. It's weird that we'd known each other for almost a year and yet I'd just then gotten a good feel for how she likes to be massaged. I really enjoyed it. Massage is sensual to me, and it makes me feel really close to the person I'm with.

    singing each to each...
    The worst part of the entire trip was that the last two days of my visit I felt as at peace and at home with Anne as I can remember. I just don't feel any conflict or tension between us, things are largely sorted out. But with that feeling came questions. I can understand when relationships don't work but it just felt things were really good between us... I didn't see the problem. That's the worst part in failed relationships: it's not always apparent to *both* people what the problem was. It's a case where one person is more clear than the other on why things don't work. Don't get me wrong: things between us are kaput for a variety of reasons on both of our sides. But I'm allowed Not To Understand sometimes.

    She said that she didn't feel any spark towards me. It was good to hear. I'm sure it was hard to say. At the same time, though, that kind of comment always causes me to question my own attractiveness. More on this later.

    She said this last visit for maybe the third time that she thought I'd be miffed if she did something with someone else. That boggles my mind. I say what I mean: I've been singing the same stupid note since we ever first discussed what being physically involved with each other means. I assumed by now she would understand. This is annoying to me. This has been going on too long. She's an ex-girlfriend. The times I've gotten upset about other people in her life has been because I feel so left in the dark. Don't mistake this for jealousy. Whether or not jealousy is involved, I don't think there's any reason to keep stuff from me.

    I felt riled about her comments about me being too nice. I understand this, I think, but I thought that for sometime we'd had a pretty equitable balance across the board. Even e-mail. She mentioned that I wrote her more than anyone else in her life did, but for the past couple months, since spring break, we've been on a 1-to-1 e-mail basis. So I feel irked that my sending too much e-mail is an apparent point of criticism when we're equal partners in the equation. Beyond that I felt, as she agreed, that a lot of the reasons for her feelings of relational inequality come from early in the relationship, not from a contemporary view. That's not fair to me. It irks me.

    These are my confusions about her. I love this woman as a friend, and it hurts to see misunderstanding and distrust between us. I've said from day one with everyone I've ever cared about that I'm interested in them being happy, not in them appeasing me. I am indeed a nice guy sometimes, but that doesn't mean I'm trying to establish any type of hold over your life. Any attachments will happen organically: I'm not going to force issues, especially when I'm not asking for anything. Gah.

    The Moody Blues
    The week to date has sucked with a vengeance.

    I haven't been too happy since I got back from New England. The last two days there were delightful, but bittersweet.

    So here's why I'm a little moody right now:

    My brother's car was stolen last weekend, and insurance isn't going to cover it.

    Chris, my friend from work, was 'released'. Tony, a guy I enjoy gaming with, left for the bay area.

    The guy working for me continues to goof up. I've given this guy all the room in the world, and I've got to start reeling it back in before he gets in big trouble. I don't want to babysit - I don't have time - but it's gotten to that point now. In fact, I was told explicitly to heavily mentor him. I think I've got to push back on this. I've got years of work to do in the next couple months, now I've got to be a nanny. That'll work. Promise. I keep expecting people to listen to what I'm saying and go from there without further guidance. Sigh.

    I'm deathly unhappy with society right now. Reading critical assessments of the state of world affairs is also unsettling. I know how tasteless our government is and has been. I've done a lot of research in the past on these subjects, but it's usually in bite-size chunks. Zinn's book A People's History of the United States has been a fire-hose of critical commentary, and so I've been overwhelmed. I care about the way the world works, about how people are treated, about what my existence means, and so I've been in my deepest political funk since the worst bouts of political infighting back in college.

    Red alert...
    I went on two outings yesterday.
    One was with Cynthia. I had told Kate before I went out that I just didn't want to do *anything*, I wanted to just sleep or people-watch or mope or be by myself in some fashion. But I hadn't seen her since I got back, plus she had show tickets ( "Once Upon a Mattress" ) that I'd agreed to so see with her anyways. I just didn't want to talk much, so we people-watched at the Seattle Center. But of course we started talking, and I went into a long long discussion of my feelings on politics & the economy. And then about the guy working for me and how to try to get him to succeed. The play was good and funny, but I didn't want to be with anyone, didn't want to talk with anyone. I don't like talking to people when I'm in a superfunk, and yesterday qualified as a superfunk. We even went to Dan's Philly Steak subs for an afternoon snack and that didn't help my mood. I just wanted to be alone for a while and not have to say anything to anybody.

    So we bade each other goodbye and I hit Wizards of the Coast to blow off some steam, but there wasn't much challenge there so I decided to just got out and read for a while.

    I was at a cafe and I noticed a redhead sitting by herself. I couldn't really talk with Cynthia because she was too close: like I said to Kate, I needed someone that either I was in love with so I could just let down my guard and be weak & cry from all the frustrations I felt or be with someone that I didn't know at all so I didn't care about what the heck transpired between us.

    So we started talking. I was just myself, with someone I didn't care about impressing or even talking to again. We ended up talking for hours, and eventually ended up going away and making out for a while. Finally, someone who liked to kiss... so few of the people I've dated in the past several years have liked french kissing, which I personally love. I like the journey of sex - the kissing, the foreplay, the sensuality - so it was so nice just to have a tame timid encounter with someone where it wasn't going to go too far. Or at least if it *did*, it'd be soft and slow, the way I like it. Maybe I'll start breaking up with girls after we make out the first time so I can ensure I'll always have sensuality and not just sexuality.

    I don't know. I think my romantic psyche really needed this. I've just felt dogged by women in the past two years. It pisses me off. But maybe that's the curse of younger women. We talked about it... she's always liked older guys. I've always felt that older women would like me better - it's the point at which I think you begin to appreciate me without misunderstanding me - but the few older women I've dated, it hasn't worked out to date.


    I felt sexy. I felt desirable. And not in the way of "I've gotten to know you and therefore like you", but in the "Hey, I just met you and I can tell that you are a sexy guy" kind of way.

    I think yesterday I got a big chunk of my confidence back, shallow as the source may have been.

    I think I'm going to have to reserve the right to never again speak with the next woman who says that 'we lack chemistry together' or whatnot. If I have anti-pheremones, why do you get involved with me in the first place? Why does it take months for you to decide that 'we lack chemistry'? Are you women trying to hurt me? Have I mortally offended Cupid?

    Come one, Mr. Cupid Sir. Last I checked I'm a nice guy with a good heart. Stop teasing me. You're slowly destroying my faith. What happened to the 80s love songs, the romantic comedies, holding each other in the rain? Bring it all back, man, bring it back. The world is a cold and desolate enough place without romance.

    Call me a sucker for information, but I ran across the coolest sample ID site completely by accident. I've been trying to track down Hell Razor's track "No More James", and ran into this page. It took me tracking down Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon" to figure out what the page actually meant - it's hosted by a Japanese site, and there appears to be no English table of contents. But I listened to Chameleon and figured it out: this is list of all the songs any particular song has been sampled in. So the Hell Razor entry means that the song "Chameleon" from the album Headhunters was sampled in the HR song "No More James". That's really cool. I've often heard some really funky beat and wondered at the source of it. I'm sure most everyone is familar with the sampling of "Cantaloupe Island" in "Flip Fantasia" by Us3, but there's some wickedly addictive beats like Soul Coughing's "Bus to Beelzebub" that use completely random samples like Raymond Scott's Powerhouse (Soul Coughing used the theme beginning at 43 seconds into this clip) that you probably would never figure out the source of without help. I only wish it didn't require such effort to find out the source of samples. I'd really like to be able to go back to the source of the sample, to get a feel for the influences that led to the song I'm listening to.

    And oh my god: I now get Hell Razor's song "No More James". It was about the over-use of James Brown samples. (I was looking for the track because I've got a couple friends interested in guys named James, and I thought it'd be funny to send their direction.) It turns out that about ~800+ songs have included James Brown samples. That's insane to me. I knew he was influential in modern music, but ... wow. He really is the Godfather of Soul.

    I guess everyone deserves a second chance to get things right, when you get down to it.

    -Garth Ennis, Preacher

    "Cute." This is Linda's response to my Alan Moore's Watchmen Bloody Smiley Face button. Grr! That's akin to telling somone dressed as The Crow that they "make a great mime": them's fightin' words. I had to go show my button to a couple fellow Alan Moore fans to purge myself. <sigh>. I got the full Watchmen pin set on EBay. Let's see... she'll probably think the radiation symbol is an avant garde smiley face, the Doomsday clock at four minutes to midnight is ... a variation on The Persistence of Time, Rohrshach's mask a fluffy bunny, and "Ego Ipse Custodes Custudio" as "Kiss me, I'm Irish." Aigh. (For the record, the translation is "Who watches the Watchmen?".) Alas, the decline of commonality. Maybe if I brought a Fabio button in, she'd recognize that. <grin>.

    I've been on an Art of Noise kick recently, so I picked up Anne Dudley's Songs from the Victorious City. This is a simply *divine* CD that I've really appreciated. You need to like psuedo-Arabic music, though. So Chadd borrows the CD... and now he's completely addicted to it. I've stopped by five times in the past couple days and he's been listening to it. I'll listen to a CD on repeat for a while because I get too lazy to switch it out, but Chadd consistently has one CD on for several weeks at a time. I don't get that. At least he's got good tastes, though: Art of Noise's Seduction of Claude DeBussy had been playing for the previous month or so.

    So I woke up this morning and you were there. I didn't really know how or why you'd gotten there. Maybe I'd been working too hard again, and just lost last night - maybe we'd talked or hung out or went dancing together and it'd been lost in the soupy fog of an overloaded life. Regardless, after so long of not seeing you... waking up to your warm smooth body against me, to the soft curves of your body cushioning my arms strewn around you... not really knowing who you were at first, just thinking that waking up to someone is so very pleasant, then the quick shock of who you were quickly turning into a deep sense of rightness, that things were as they should be: like knowing about a good melon, knowing that the person you're holding and laying next to is the exactly right person to be waking up to... that there's that kind of primeval attraction between the two of us, an intelligent yet gruff attraction that doesn't necessarily make sense at all times - if ever? - but regardless is there just as inarguably as the two scoops in Raisin Bran. You turned to me and hugged me, finding my lips in a sleepy early morning kiss. And both of us, still blanketed in sleepy innocence, knew that what we were doing was right and what we most wanted. I can't explain it. I don't think I would ever have planned it, but all of me knew that this was the right person to be waking up to this morning - and for a long time to come.

    None of that happened, actually. I just remember my dreams, and that one left quite an impression.

    Confidential to Anonymous at UW re: "Question": I don't deny that I think that way at times, but I think everyone who is true to their self has some degree of similar thought. It will never impact my life much, but it's important to me that the people I deal with be able to respect socialist weirdos like myself. People who stereotype or are prejudiced against others will inevitably find some flaw in my character, so I'll identify with the hated groups (commies, socialists) right off the bat so we can avoid any confusion. Hate hate groups, but beyond that... people are people. Dislike them - and me - for who they are, not who you presume they might be. I'd give you a more direct answer, but you used a forged e-mail address so I can't respond back.
    And for the record, I'm prejudiced against Republicans (upper class politics), the highly overweight and smokers (if you don't value the only body you'll ever get, what do you value? I'm not preaching narcissism here, I'm advocating being responsible for taking basic care of yourself).

    Went out boating this past week with my parents. My brother Derek did a 180 on the wake board, which I was pretty impressed by. I'll have to show him up later this summer.

    After a huge dearth of Buffalo Tom concerts, there's a second concert coming up July 1st in Massachusetts. I'd been thinking quite a lot about heading to Washington D.C. for the Fourth... this would tie in quite neatly. Maybe invite a couple friends to the Buffalo Tom concert, head on over to D.C. for the fireworks and monuments. I think that's a divine idea. We'll see.

    The guy working for me is leaving at the end of June. Ack. I'll actually have to interview people for once. I've already been working too much.... But it does give me the opportunity to hire somebody who'll be a strong contributor. So few people understand what I do... getting someone useful in will not only help me relax more, it'll be a good opportunity to have someone else provide some good thought to what I do. Operating in a vacuum is fun for a while - it's great job security - but it's so hard to do a great job when you're the only one who's really clued into what's going on. Kevin and Scott are both bright and helpful, but both are already overtaxed without me leaning on them for guidance. Same thing with Kirt - but besides being busy he's got a live-in girlfriend now, so he's not here nearly as much as he used to be. Anders is here too much too, but I can't understand a damn word he says through his accent. <grin>.

    Sometimes you need some time on your own.

    -Guns N' Roses, November Rain

    That wasn't anybody concrete in my dream last night. I knew the face, but the spirit was an amalgam of the women I've been attracted to over time. A little bit of this, a little bit of this, a pot, a pan...

    That is not it at all. That is not what I want, at all. "And only when there are graves are there resurrections" - I've finally learned that most important part of being single. These past years haven't been about being "single" and becoming a better partner in a relationship, it's been about becoming someone unlikable. It's about me embracing my inner . I read an article by Christina Z that agreed with the conclusions I've been slowly deriving. Obviously, the one person who's going to stick around me through thick and thin is me. I can count on one hand the number of people who've stood by me in my most trying times, who understand me, who've always been my friend, and never kicked me when I'm down. I don't expect anyone to be infallible, but I strive for such high personal standards that I leave my id on too short of a leash. What's the fun in compromising? I invariably stop caring about a woman who's not fierce, passionate, and uncompromising in some ways. I'm fiercely dedicated to *who I am*, but that doesn't preclude me compromising to work with other's interests... so I do. And I think that's bad: it's perceivable as me shorting myself for my partner, and that's exactly what I hate most. I'm a passionate guy, and I need not to deny these passions.

    These are the things I've learned over the past two years of being single. I still have yet to actualize this realization, but I've been slowly getting there. Dating Anne helped... it was one of the first times I'd been so ... noncommittal about a relationship. Maybe it was going to work in the future, but I wasn't giving a damn about the now (of the relationship- the friendship was what was important to me). The downside there that I should never have accepted is that she dislikes scents, and a lot of my perception of my environment comes from smells. I've got two colognes I have deep and abiding associations with, and stepping away from that, to the grape bubble-gum of my shampoo, takes something away from my day. Maybe I should have gone with incense at work? I don't *know* what the alternatives should have been, but I need to remember that scent is an important part of my life, and not walk away from parts of me so easily.

    So my plan is to recognize the things I desire, that I would enjoy in life. Scents, music, touch, laughter, sensuality, thunderstorms, speculation, sexuality, challenges, companionship... these are the things I value. I say to myself: Come follow me.

    And along the way I'm going to be part of shipping the single coolest app Microsoft has ever written (AoE and Asheron's Call were written elsewhere, TMK, and Word 4 wasn't nearly sexy enough). That sounds like the start of a nice summer to me.

    Last night Diana and I were driving in a borrowed car and I hated the song that we were listening to, thought that the whole "Christmas West Coast Style" album was the worst thing I'd ever heard, so ejected the tape and flung it out the window. Then I realized: oh yeah, this is her *friend's* car, and it's her *friend's* tape. We stopped and got the tape. I felt sheepish.

    I'm feeling mischievous and rambunctious today. I'm going to go steal the escape keys from people's keyboard in a quite literal play on words. Amuse me. I don't want to be at work anymore today.

    The gang played Robo-Rally last night at Steve's place. On the first turn I managed to "help" three people plunge to their deaths. Needless to say I was quite the popular target robot. For some insane reason I still managed to be the first to touch the next-to-last flag, but at that point I realized that I would be lynched if I won (by this point I'd amassed a respectable Deathmatch score, let alone a Robo-Rally game...). So I just sat around and slowed down those who were also close to winning. At the end, almost everyone who was still trying had a chance to win. I do fear that I shall be perished next game...

    It's music week. Tomorrow night is the Jason Webley/Player King concert (at the Scarlet Tree), Friday is the Circus Contraption concert (at Gibsons). Saturday... I don't know yet, but I'm planning on going to a concert then, too. When it rains, it pours...

    Three hundred fifty dollars later (and richer), I'm one half of my through selling off my video games. I decided that while they were fun and definitely a good way to release stress, they weren't adding anything to my life at all. So adios. I haven't sold my arcade game cabinet yet. I'm not sure how to work that. I really really don't want to ship it anyplace, but I'm not going to have any use for it. Hrm. I'm still going to have to puzzle that part out.

    It was suggested by a friend that I start an e-mail notification service, so people could be alerted when I updated my journal. I pointed out that that completely defeats the purpose of *my* journal... the reason it seems so voyeuristic at times, that I seem like such a goofball, that it seems "sometimes like a train wreck" (an interesting description...), is that I write it for me by me. I know Kate reads it, but she's privy to all of my secrets. Everybody else reading this? I don't believe in you. You don't exist. Sure sometimes I check the logs and get freaked out, but if I actually ever believed that anybody read this, it would be harder for me to be honest about how I feel. Much like Robert Holdstock's Storytellers (from Lavondyss, I believe), if I know the audience, it would taint the story. And that is not what this is about. It's about me being as honest as I can be about myself and realizing what a complete ass I can be. That in itself (full honesty) is a big problem because a frightening percentage of the people I care about - from my mom to almost every girl I've ever dated - have mentioned to me reading this at one point or another. I had thought that the Snoop thing would buy me a little privacy, but that's sadly just a joke. The world is full of voyeurs, people who are interested in things about me that I don't even come close to understanding myself. Intriguingly, one of the women who knows me the absolute best - Marie - is the only ex of mine that I know never reads my journal. At one point I had thought about sending e-mail to one ex to ask her to stop reading my journal. It was weirding me out to have someone that wasn't a friend peering into my 'private' journal. The friends, I understand somewhat. The people I don't know... well, I don't know you so why would I care? But the people I'm not getting along with at any given time... it frightens me to have people I don't necessarily trust looking at things I find semi-private. Knowledge is power, and when you hurt someone with your knowledge - as this particular friend did - it makes me uneasy about sharing more. And unfortunately, in order to continue this journal, I have to let myself be hurtable. I have to let myself and others know that, hey, no matter what I seem like, I am part-jerk, I'm part-guy, and I'm all fool.

    I've thought it about it a lot, and I'm going to be making an effort to be more honest and complete in my chronicling of what occurs in my life. I warn you that if you've got Snoop turned on, there's the strong possibility that you're going to be upset. We all have our weaknesses and faults, and I want to be honest about mine.

    So that's your warning.

    As alluded to, I ran across a site that said my journal was "sometimes like a train wreck". I'm not quite sure what to make of that. I think that was in regards to my write-up of the relationship with Anne. But I am definitely in search of myself, trying to get to know myself better - that's the whole purpose of this journal - so things do get a little wiggy at times.

    Interestingly enough, she also had a link to The Church of Mez, which finally gave me an answer to what the "Church of Mez" bus I saw at Golden Garden Parks was.

    In an only-in-America study at the University of New Mexico, researchers Randy Thornhill and Steven Gangestad found that, other things being equal, women were more likely to climax when their partners’ bodies were symmetrical, a marker of desirable genes. “It’s all consistent with female choice,” says Thornhill.

    -MSNBC article

    I don't think "you're looking very symmetrical" will become the new code-phrase for "you look hot", but I like the thought.

    Was it love or the idea of being in love?

    -Pink Floyd, One Slip

    This has been a freaky weird week.

    Anne called from her vacation in Europe. We talked some about about her trip, about my search for a house, about work, about life. She said something that startled me to no end. She said that she'd been thinking that she (might have been?) 'flamingly stupid' for breaking up with me (I don't even bother trying to figure out who broke up with who anymore... we both ended varying stages of the relationship, and we kind of had a break-up after we broke up... it's quite a muddle). She cushioned that with the statement that she was still thinking about things, that she still didn't really know what she wanted, that she still needed time to think about things. But... the comment seemed to come so out of left field to me. I was in a semi-happy place regarding our relationship, and now I've had to think about it a lot, about what I want and need. I think I walked away with the knowledge that she needed to be sure of herself and me, that the relationship really only could be if we could accept each other and ourselves fully. I don't see this as going anywhere for some time, but it still was a pretty astonishing twist to my week. I wish I understood things, but I suspect that she doesn't either. It'll be quite interesting to see her again in August, I think. I hope the vacation treats her well.

    Umm. Remember I warned you about the dangers of Snoop being turned on? Revisit those warnings. I'll wait here.

    I burnt out on work recently. In the process - and this is part of why I got fed up with work - I realized that I've been a complete jerk to myself over the past several years, let alone my friends. Sometimes it really is hard to manage things - trying to see Marie is a terrible pain since our schedules conflict so often - but I put work so far ahead of everything else - including myself - it's been despicable (and I really mean that). So I'm going to work on not pissing my life away anymore. However, there have been a number of people I've been a jerk to - or at least not lived up to my side of the friendship with - because of this, and as I've been running into them, I've been apologizing. When my grandfather died, it really made want to make sure my affairs are in order, that the people I care about know that I care. Maybe I'm too affectionate at times, but I want others to know how I feel. This is such a wonderful world and life, and I appreciate the people in my life that make it interesting.

    That being said... I talked with Rachel today (I told you being a Snoop would piss you off). We left off on a very sour note, and although there wasn't necessarily a need to correct that, I think I completely blew that relationship - we knew each other *less* over time, not *more*. Not that I haven't blown the last several relationships, but I especially blew that one. And I always want to own up to my jerkiness. To excerpt from the most pertinent part of our exchange:

    And I think it was really my first attempt at a serious relationship, too. Everything else had been easy for me until you. Everyone was always willing to give me what I wanted regardless of what I gave. It's still a problem... people are too willing to settle. You were the first who I think really asked me to be someone *worth* being attracted to, to build a relationship *worth* being part of, and I didn't understand that for a long time.

    I think in a lot of ways she was my first *real* relationship, even though I didn't realize it at the time. She was the first person who tried holding me to some semblance of normalcy, who expected some level of decency from me (I told you, I've been an ass these past couple years). I think the huge problem in the relationship - part of the reason why our last meeting went so badly - was that she was willing to date me despite everything else, so tolerant of the collapse of my responsibilities, that I never even had an *inkling* of what a failure as a boyfriend I was. Rachel was the first person that really let how I acted color how she acted.

    And those who know me would probably say, yes, but you're very romantic or very kind of etc. or one of the zillion reasons why I *am* someone worth dating - and I think those are true, too - I'm just saying that I have not been a good boyfriend for some time.

    I'm really glad I've been 'single' for a while now. It's really helped me to come to a much better understanding of myself and my actions. I know others have been a little hurt at my rebuffs, at my avoiding commitment, but without this ... *feeling* of solititude - regardless of the actual situation - I would never be able to start to come to understand myself and where I'm at. The dictum is "Know thyself" and I'm still trying.

    And I think the biggest part of the reason I haven't been in any serious relationships these past several years has been because I haven't been in love. When it's gotten to the point where I *would* be falling in love, there's been something wrong. Whether distance or some love triangle or general life turmoil, I haven't found love these past years. I still think I'm ready for a relationship if I meet the right person, but I don't think that anyone in these past couple years has been the right person or at least not the right time.


    I went to Katie's going-away party on Saturday night. It wasn't quite as exciting as the "Dress To Get Laid" party, but it was very enjoyable. It was a beautiful day, so I just sat on the porch for several hours talking with Megan (Jen's friend) and Ed. Others came out to join us until it got nippy.

    When we were inside talking later, I got a chance to sit next to Megan again. We'd never really talked previous to this party, but I like meeting new people, so we struck up a conversation. I was really enjoying talking with her, but unfortunately there were other people at the table (five of us crammed into a little breakfast nook) so I didn't get much of a chance to get to know her. She has a bad back so she was stretching on the floor for a while. Did I mention that the female form is very attractive? She usually wears her hair back (it's out of her face that way), but it looks really nice down. Oddly enough, my feet are almost twice as wide as hers. I don't know if that means anything, but it was weird, as she's my height.

    After we had all danced a while, Jen and Megan and I left and went to the 13 Coins for dessert. I was still feeling feeling a little chatty. The 13 Coins was weird: a spider crawled onto Megan, and when the guy next to us asked if he could have dinner, the waitress really snapped at him. I wouldn't recommend it, but I can't think of anyplace else in Seattle to get good desserts at ~2am.

    So we talked about life and growing up for a while. Megan grew up in DC, which I find fascinating... I've always found DC to be particularly enchanting - it's the modern-day Olympus.

    I felt a little awkward talking to Jen and Megan. I felt myself wanting to just talk to Megan. It's not that I didn't want to talk to Jen - hell, I haven't seen her in months - it was ... . Megan is just my kind of person, from what I could tell. Someone I take a natural affinity to. Unfortunately you can usually easily read how I feel about someone, and I think it was pretty obvious that I found Megan fascinating. I hope Jen didn't feel left out. Anyways, we all were getting sleepy, so we headed for home.

    I dropped Jen off first. Megan and I talked a while further, and then I dropped her off. I gave her a couple CDs I thought she might enjoy (Splunge, Art of Noise's "Seduction"). We had talked about some mutual interests, so we ended on the idea of maybe getting together to play games some time. I didn't ask for her number, she didn't ask for mine.

    So last night I came home from the Folklife Festival to a message from her on the phone. I wrote her back an e-mail, and she ended up calling me so we could arrange plans. I like her. In her words, she's 'earthy'- she said that while we could do many things when we got together, we probably shouldn't go to dinner and a movie, because that would 'too obviously be a first date'. I was a little taken aback. I like people that are straight-forward. It's a nice change of pace.

    So... it'll be interesting to see how this goes. I had been thinking while I sat there at dessert with her that she was the kind of person I'm usually attracted to, that ... interaction with her would just be ... natural. I had thought about asking Jen for Megan's number myself, but I thought I'd give it some space and work on the friendship angle. After all, Megan just got out of a relationship.

    I'll see. She's supposedly a terrible flirt so maybe I should think nothing of this. But she is someone I would like as a friend. Hopefully things will go well.

    So all the recent hubbub would apparently reraise the question: what do I want out of all this? It's a very fair question. I simply don't know yet, and I haven't found anything fully compelling yet - the mutual feelings necessary for a good relationship don't exist with anyone currently. I'm open, but it takes two to tango and a lot of quirky luck to make the dance enjoyable. At this point I'm going to enjoy some good friendships.

    Love is like running through the rain with an umbrella made of fire... or being lost inside a cave, and lying down and trying to touch the ceiling -- No... that's not quite right... love is like being the tiniest little bird... and swallowing the moon.

    -John Ney Rieber, Girl in the Box

    So. Megan...

    La bellezza della donna tenterebbe il diavolo.

    In Mario Puzo's Godfather, Michael Corleone gets hit by 'the thunderbolt' when he meets Apollonia, the Italian peasant girl. I think that's the closest I've come to being able to express how I feel.

    Last Saturday's date with Megan went fabulous. Way too fabulous for me to be doing anything else than try to arrange more of 'em.

    I was sitting on a park bench at Kerry Park with this woman. And though I so wanted to take things slow with her, to Not kiss her even though it was palpable Not Kissing... it came down to the fact that her being a bad kisser would have ruined my month. Sitting across from her on the bench, only having eyes for her, it would have physically pained me if I didn't like the way she kissed. She leaned into my kiss and it took so much willpower to back away, to stop things at a very chaste level.

    She makes me shudder. We were talking on the phone earlier this week and she's reading me poetry and just ... seducing me by being herself. She makes my whole body feel electrified... her voice, her personality affect me as much as a lover's body might.

    I didn't say it in my previous entry... but when I was sitting across from her at the 13 Coins, I was struck by how easily I could see myself dating this woman. I didn't really want to say anything about it until I'd had a chance to see more of her. That reticence was the last of my hesitation on the matter: since that point I've been brutally honest with myself and with her. I've laid my cards out on the table: if we continue to date I'm going to fall completely in love with her.

    She sings and draws beautifully. She IS beautiful. I'll be damned if I care about that. We all have our criteria, our list of qualities that the person who we meet should possess. But I met her and I just knew. Boom. You can just tell about good people.

    And everything I've learned about this woman has made me appreciate her more. She doesn't just meet The Criteria, she knocks them out of the ballpark. And that has nothing to do with my attraction to her...

    She walks into my life at such a high baseline of attractiveness: her core persona, the inner Megan, the kernel of self that decides what to do and why to do it: that's what I looked at across the table and what made me say "uh oh, my plans need to change to include this woman."

    We talk on the phone for hours. True enough, that's easy now, early on, but it's still a damned good sign.


    The first date...

    For dinner, we stopped by some Ethiopian restaurant over on Rainier Avenue. I have no recollection of where we were... during the meal we ran through our dating histories, how we came to the area. The discussion of dating history was a little bit of a thrill: although I think we'd already both been a little forward about having interest in each other, running through dating history usually is a darn good sign that you're both thinking about dating.

    On the way to Kali, I walked behind her while holding her in my arms. We held hands. My pulse was racing. The opera was fantastic and sensual and amazing, and I'd love to see it again sometime when I wasn't absolutely enthralled with the texture of the skin of the woman sitting next to me. I was watching this so beautiful opera but my heart was pounding with the knowledge that my arm was around Megan. We kissed each other's fingers and I lightly rubbed her shoulders and I really wanted to just lay her chair back and be next to her and hold her. She *does* really turn me on, but I just wanted to breathe her for a little while, have her become more of a reality to me. She *still* feels like somewhat of a dream. Maybe I'm being stupid or naive or blind... as the Dread Pirate Roberts said, 'It's possible, pig'. I think when I wake up next to her I'm going to have the biggest goofy grin on my face. Hell, just talking with her on the phone or getting e-mail from her makes me so smiley my face hurts.

    So after Kali, we headed up to Kerry Park. We picked up some soda on the way, and then chatted there for a while. As mentioned, I *had* to kiss her by this point. I've never felt that way before. I knew I was extremely attracted to her, but my passion scared me enough that I didn't want to let that fire even think about kindling until many dates later.

    After we kissed that first chaste sample kiss...

    We kissed much more. How could I not kiss someone that wonderful and delightful again and again? I had had enough willpower to keep the first kiss chaste but there was just no way in hell I would have forgiven myself for not kissing her more.

    After we left Kerry Park, we went back to her place. She stretched her back while I read for a while, and then we just laid around being close and kissing more.

    It is such a delight to kiss this woman. We seem to be so compatible through and through... the biggest problem that we seem to be having so far is that it's just amazing to be kissing her... little stuff like needing food or her needing to do her stretches are very convenient break-off points for kissing.

    I stopped by Sunday night after Kali to drop off some flowers for her. "Unfortunately", she was home, which was completely unexpected to me. So we ended up going to the store together and getting a movie. She cooked a meal for her roommate and her roommate's mom... I had a little bite, but had already had dinner. It was just really nice to spend a ... less heated evening together with her, just get to know her better. We ended up not watching the movie because it was so late, and I took off happily for home.

    Since then, we've talked maybe seven to eight hours on the phone... we keep talking far too late for our sleep habits: I've been getting into work terribly late. The worst part is that I can't possibly sleep after talking with her. I usually have to go bother Kate for a while, express my profoundly renewed love of the universe to my sleepy roommate, eat a little bit, and then read myself to sleep. Mmm. I'd really like to have Megan over. Not because I want to have sex with her, but because falling asleep and waking up to her would make my day. I'd like to lay next to her and hear her breathe, feel her heart beat.

    I have a little Polaroid I took of her when we got back to her place from the store on Sunday night. I'd never previously understood the whole notion of portraits, but now I find myself looking at her picture and getting glowy.

    So I haven't had a Girlfriend in several years. Megan is the first woman I've extended that offer to. It's still so early and at least I am caught up in this immense attraction that - while delightful - is a little unsettling for how short of a time we've known each other so I told her to think about it and get back to me. She's going back to the East Coast for a brief vacation at the end of June, and I think that'll be a good chance for both of us to take a deep breath and see where we're at.

    She said that she's high maintenance. So far that's meant that I'm supposed to talk to her and see her. I don't know what cretins she's been dating that think she qualifies as high maintenance. I'm still trying to figure this one out. It'll be interesting to see if there's any validity to her being high maintenance... I've been delighted by her so far.

    I've dated a number of women who said that they thought I might be The One or whatever. Cynthia said recently that the 'first couple months of our relationship were like a fairy tale' (which was a quite surprising comment given that I thought I was being very slow and cautious). I mention this because I think this is the first time since I can't remember when that I've seen something being so right. As always, I'm a realist and maybe this won't work out - life will go on regardless. But, damn, I want this to work out. It Just Clicks for me so far. At the same time, the cynic in me says that if others met someone *they* thought was Just Right and that didn't work out... what makes me think I'm going to get what I want? So while I've put all my cards on the table - I think she knows exactly how I feel - I think I'm prepared for this not to work out. I do however reserve the right to be one surly drunken for at least one weekend if that happens, though. A couple people chastised me for not inviting them last time I was a bitter drunk... I'll have to make it a special pity party so that I can amuse those friends who've never seen me tipsy (which is everyone but Kirt and Chadd).


    So she calls me today and we talk for a little while and although we don't have a date until Sunday I've really wanted to see her all week, so I finagle my way into going out to dinner with her. Well, I just asked, really. But I wanted it enough that it felt like she'd granted me a guilty pleasure. So I skipped my first soccer game of the night...

    She is a nice kisser. Nice nice nice. I can't recall the last time I've been so delightfully pounced upon.

    After saying hello at length, we both were ravenous and went to Angel's for dinner. It was a good quiet dinner: I really enjoy being with her. The tip of my nose itched like hell, though. It was embarassing - I was completely distracted by it all throughout dinner. When we finally got back to my car, I ended up using my electric razor to shave my nose, which brought a little relief. Sometimes(?) I'm a dork.

    So we went back to her place and watched I.Q., the movie we had rented Sunday. The TV is in her room next to her bed. I lay down on the bed and rested while she got ready to watch the movie. I really wanted to spoon up to her as she watched the movie, but I figured we would sit up or lay across the bed or somesuch... happily, she lay down right in front of me. I got to wrap my arms around her and feel her breathing next to me. Mmm. I really really liked that. I was pleasantly surprised at just how nice of a body she has. She has really nice muscle tone. Again, the more I know about her, the more I like.

    Eventually the movie was over and we lay next to each other for a little bit, resting. It was quite delightful. Thankfully, she had to do her stretching exercises, which was a great cue for me to leave. I would really like to stay the night with her - innocently - but we're trying to take things very slowly. Still... yum.

    Since I brought Rich at work a Buffalo Tom t-shirt back from their concert in Rhode Island, he returned the favor by picking me up the Magnetic Field's 69 Love Songs. I thought that was really cool of him. A number of friends had recommended it, but I hadn't gotten around to listening to it. It's great: The Book of Love in particular is now one of my favorite songs.

    Last night I read Dan Simmon's Entropy's Bed at Midnight. It's about an overprotective father assessing the chaos of life and risks, among other things. It's in part about how freak accidents happen to those we love when we least expect it. So. I skipped the second soccer game last night to watch the movie with Megan. Sure enough, my best friend Kate got knocked out briefly at the game! Aigh. She's okay, but still: it was scary to me.

    I've had a huge oral fetish lately. I keep chewing and biting on things. I accidentally broke my work phone because I kept unplugging the cord to chew on it. I've stolen a phone cord from a conference room for now. I keep wanting to chew on the new unbroken cord but have been able to stop myself for now. Maybe I'll go get a box of Jawbreakers...

    "[The Postman is] a ragged survivor, deeply scarred, yet still willing to hope. In this era of cynicism, we need reminders of the decency that lies within."

    -David Brin, on The Postman

    It's too bad we don't get to vote directly for the Justice Department. What absolute nutcases. It's certainly an *interesting* ruling. I gave the judge kudos for having huge cojones, but I think the rushed trial was a mistake. I had thought about it for a while and came to the conclusion that a suspended 'death' sentence with interim regulations was the best solution (based upon the Findings of Fact). I think the judgment showed an excess of bias. It'll be interesting seeing how this fares through the appellate process.

    While I haven't been leading my life by commitee, I certainly have relied on others' perspectives in order to illuminate for me potential avenues of thought or explanation that I might be overlooking. Therefore when faced with any major decision where I'm a little confused, I like to run ideas or gather ideas from those that I care about and trust.

    So if, just hypothetically, Kate was off in New Jersey, Marie was off in Europe, Cynthia and I weren't talking for a little while, Janus was off in Egypt, and I was simultaneously forced with a very interesting 'choice'... I'd be thrown for a compete whammy. That's about the size of it. I've had insomnia the past several days. I couldn't sleep Friday night. I couldn't sleep Saturday night. I slept Sunday night, but only because I'd missed Saturday completely. Right about now it's 6:22AM PST, which means I am *not* doing very well at getting into a normal sleep schedule. The people I think I've established the ability to talk to anything about... well, they're just not frickin' here right now. There are others, too, but these four were the people I'd been talking with recently. (And yeah, they're all girls. I've just always felt more comfortable talking about life with women.)

    I went up to Wallace Falls on Saturday with Megan. That was a truly delightful day. I had burnt a CD at work of my favorite songs, so we listened to that on the way out. Music has always had a very special effect upon me. I suspect that the woman I fall in love with, that I marry, will beguile me with song. Perhaps with a harp ala Orb from Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality? Anyways, we had to me one of my favorite conversations on my way out: talking about love and romance, about what has really touched that person over time. I don't think I'll ever tire of hearing romance stories. I've got a couple more good ones too from my friends. I'll get back to those later.

    We went out for brunch with Kate in the morning. Since I'd been talking about Megan a fair deal, Kate wanted to make sure she approved. It was a nice breakfast, but as we were all standing there waiting for the table I was struck time and time again how far away Megan was (across the hallway). I kept crossing over to her to be closer to her, but then it was hard to hear the conversation, so kept moving back. I felt like a fool but then again I've never claimed to be anything but. "To thine own self be true..."

    Megan was wearing a fishing hat due to the rain. I don't think I've mentioned how much I appreciate women in hats. Hats, scarves, skirts... I particularly like the silly clothing women get to wear. After breakfast, Kate drove us back to where my car was and Megan put the front brim of her hat up and a pleasant chill ran down my spine. Steve Martin's L.A. Story in many ways defined for me what romance is - not just the story, but the fact that it was written for his wife - so I always melt when people remind me of it. And if you just happen to be wearing the same hat that Victoria Tennant wears when she meets Steve Martin for the first time, and if I already think you're damn fine, well then I'm going to be pretty much putty in your hands.

    After that, we bid adieu to Kate and headed out to Wallace Falls. As we were driving Megan was explaining that she felt that it was easy to give each other time, to woo the other *early* on in the relationship, but that over time that ... dedication evaporated. Once the 'hunt' was won, there was no need to further pursue, to further enloven, your partner. I had to suppress my delight/laughter so hard that little tears came to my eyes when she said this... that was just too plum of a statement for who I am. I thought to myself that I think she'd really like me long-term. Maybe I'm wrong here... only Marie, Rachel, and Sonja would *really* know how I am in long-term relationships. But I would hope that I understand - I feel I do - that a relationship is never about a conquest but instead about a partnership. It's part of why someone leaving me for someone else is... semi-palatable: if I love them, I truly want their happiness, even if that is not with me. In that light, it's immediately apparent that only by continuing to be a great lover can you continue to be worthy of the partner you love. I've been working on this kind of thing, fleshing myself out as an individual and as a partner, for the past ten years. It's easy for me to be happy with me - I've been into the heart of the furnace of hard times and realized that at the core I will always respect who I am, know that even when I've been the worst and complete ass (and boy am I good at that) that my heart has *always* been in the right place - but I want my partner to be In Love with me always. Always. I get Lover Vision when I'm dating somebody... if I go out, I think to myself about little things that might make them happy. I still have Spark soda in my office, a bunch of doo-dads, and etc. in the hope that those things might have brought a smile or laugh to Anne's face. Maybe it's blowing out a dandelion together or maybe just cuddling, but I'd like to believe that I'm a romantic for the long haul. I guess I'll have to check back on this entry in five years and rate myself.

    We did a five mile hike at Wallace Falls. It had been raining, and the vegetation always... shines a little brighter after the rain. It was quite beautiful. I felt a little bad afterwards because Megan's knees were sore from all the hiking. That being said, hugging Megan from behind as we both looked at the falls together was one of the romantic highlights of the past couple years. I've got to remember not to go to falls on the first couple of dates... if I don't always wear my heart on my sleeve, I certainly do when I'm in the presence of beautiful nature.

    I really like this woman. She is very multi-faceted... I never know quite what to expect from her - is she going to sniff, kiss, bite, or lick me?... but I don't feel I'm on my toes at all. I know other people that are good at moving across a wide range of attitudes within a short time span, but most of them are rough or come off as actors. She's very good at being versatile without ever coming off poorly. I enjoy being around her through and through... when she gets silly, it only adds to the charm, never detracts. Like I said, the more I know, the more I like.

    After that, Megan and I went back to her place. I was completely zonked, not having slept Saturday night, so took a quick nap on the couch and then a little longer nap with her in her bed. We're still a tad awkward next to each other... I was a little worried about hurting her sore back or knee, but it felt really good and comfortable next to each other. I'm not sure how compatible our body heat is yet. Seems to be fine. I'm not sure about how compatible for cuddling our body heights are, either. We *seem* to fit together very nicely, but it wasn't the tight full-body spooning you might do with someone you're a little closer with. Eventually I got up and dragged myself home. People do stupid things sometime, one of which is to leave funny interesting women to spend nights by themselves.

    That was my date this weekend. We're still getting to know each other better. It's weird to be with someone that I feel that comfortable with. My eyes are wide-open and I see her goods and her bads, but I stick by my earlier feelings about her. There's Possibility here.

    I stopped by last night to talk with her briefly. She actually called me a little after midnight. I realize now I never asked her why. Anyways, I had a very confusing night (more on this in a bit), and wanted to see her for a bit. It was really nice. She was wearing a cool purple/green pajama set... I'm a big fan of purple/green color combinations. And a fan of women in pajamas, but that goes without saying. If a woman has got to wear anything, it should be comfy. We talked for a while at her place and she said something that threw me for a bit of a loop. I asked if I was a friend, and she said not yet. I understand that... we haven't known each other very long, many other societal Friend tests haven't been made, but ... I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know myself well enough that I always forget people aren't inside my head, can't see my heart. I trust too much, I'm told.

    I talked with her a while about what I've been going through that's been driving me to insomnia. On Friday one of the woman I've cared most about gave me a big huge fat hint that she wanted a relationship with me. I walked away from that in part because things with her weren't possible. So since I've been busy meeting one of the coolest women I've ever had the pleasure to meet in Megan, she also expressed that she wasn't going to want to be friends with me. Ouch. Double-whammy there: not only did I have to quickly reassess everything in the light that she *did* want something with me, I had to assess that this woman that I really cherished as a friend and companion was possibly no longer my friend. So I didn't sleep Friday night. I couldn't... I just felt too twisted up. I felt a little better by Sunday, and then when I saw Megan it was a lot easier. I had made the decision with the first woman on good principles... which I think still remain... but I really wanted to reconfirm that that's how I felt *before* I saw Megan again. I'm glad I did... it really torques me off to be confused on other peoples' time.

    So of course the universe hates contentment, so last night I got offered everything I'd wanted with the first woman on a silver platter. It might have been missing a pretty pink ribbon, but I'm sure if I asked for that, I would have gotten that too. And to top it off, it all comes from what *she* wanted (supposedly - this *could* be a reaction to the New Woman Megan, but I don't think so) all along but only recently felt comfortable with pursuing. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch.

    So I haven't slept at all again. And Kate is in New Jersey, Marie in Europe, ....

    It's Marie's and my and evidently Megan's belief that there isn't just the One for any given person, but instead a small set of people who would be nigh-perfect for you. The most insanely frustrating part of today is that I think *BOTH* women here fit in that set. How the do you judge *that* one? Especially when you're just getting to know the second woman (Megan)? I agree it's too early to know whether either fits into that set, but I think I know my wants/needs very well, and both are certainly in that teeny tiny set of people I could Love.

    I've made my decision already - insomnia is damned good for giving you time to think - , but still... this puts all sorts of weird spin on everything that makes me really uncomfortable. It's the kind of weirdness that can completely kill a relationship, and that scares me. I want to take things on their own merit. If this latest hullaballoo kills both relationships, I will be in one hell of a lot of pain.

    I think the best I can hope for here is to suddenly discover that I'm gay.

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