Almost there...

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Of course, then Kevin points out this article from a reporter for the Sacramento News & Review, the local free weekly paper. All of this terrifies me to my core. As a coworker remarked, "We're headed right back to the days of McCarthyism." As someone who doesn't neatly fit into the norm, I'm really worried about how this will affect me. Will I be questioned because my hair is an unnatural color? Will I be stopped because the book I clutch might be considered threatening? Will I be stopped for looking too thoughtful about all of this? Meanwhile, anyone who really could do us harm is probably perfectly practiced at looking perfectly normal and unthreatening. Oh it all just makes me ill. I'm just glad I have no reason to fly in the near future.

I didn't think it would happen so soon, or be so obvious, but it's happening. Reading this article, the only thing I note is that Godfrey had "dyed black hair" and the aforementioned ~questionable~ choice of reading material, probably leading someone to believe he was a sinister sort. It really is a matter of if you don't look like you fell out of an episode of The Andy Griffith Show or Leave It To Beaver, you'd better watch yourself. You may just be a suspect. Toe the line, or you won't be allowed to move freely around the country. I hope this guy sues them and wins.

Friday, October 26, 2001

One thing I forgot about the trip to Disneyland. The oil companies are fucking northern California. The absolute cheapest price I've found in the Bay Area this week was $1.49 for regular unleaded at Costco (plus the amortized cost of the membership card). The Texaco on campus is still charging $1.90 a gallon. Right off of I-5 in the City of Commerce, there was an Arco selling gas for $1.29. I was so aghast that I woke the entire carload with my "Oh.My.God." On the freeway at the little roadside outposts, it was only $1.39 (in Buttonwillow for example). And that's not just the Arco, but also Mobil and Shell. I wanted to scream. Evil oil companies. Evil.

I spent last night sitting up with Tigger, making sure she didn't need anything, cleaning up after her when she accidentally urinated on the floors, and making sure she wasn't alone in case she just stopped breathing. The diabetes is the least of her problems. Much bigger is the congestive heart failure. They're hoping to get her on some medication to start helping her by the end of the day, but so far, it's been a whole lot of wait and see what the tests show. A week later, she's on death's door. I hope that today's tests point toward a solution rather than another test. I don't think I can take many more nights of watching her pant just to stay alive.

October used to be my favorite month. These past few Octobers have brought nothing but tests and heartache. I sure hope there's some medication to help her. I'm just not willing to give up my baby kitty just yet.

Thursday, October 25, 2001

And security at the airports is as tight as ever!

I know that I'm largely depressed today because last night Tigger was diagnosed with diabetes and because someone else put an offer in on the townhouse we want, but dammit, I'm just all up in knots about what our government is up to and how terrifyingly filtered American news is. We are not getting a real picture of what's going on. Back on September 11th, what I really wanted to know was why the terrorists hate America enough to spend YEARS getting trained to commit suicide. Clearly, we're not getting the big picture, and maybe if we were then we could react more efficiently.

I really strongly believe that not only did government have some level of knowledge about these attacks happening and concientiously let it happen anyway, but I also think that they're now doing exactly what I'd expect and exploiting the tragedy to pass legislation to take away basic American freedoms in the name of anti-terrorism. And still the news is filtered. NPR this morning barely mentioned that the Anti-Terror billhad passed the House. No analysis of the possible repercusions for the average American. No commentary. No nothing. Just, "this bill passed and goes on to the senate today."

Meanwhile, my friend Jeff in Sacramento keeps sending out articles that point out how the attack on Afghanistan was planned well before September 11th. The thing of it is, we probably won't know anything until 40 years later (for one reason or another, if ever. There's even a little part of me that wonders if these hijackers (or at least these scapegoats)weren't arranged by our governent and if the anthrax isn't being sent out by the CIA or the NSA or something. On the other hand, the anthrax in the mail did start promptly AFTER we started bombing Afghanistan. It all seems so tit for tat. And I still don't understand why they're so damned pissed off.

Maybe we should forget about buying a place and just work on moving to Canada. I'm tired of being an American. I just can't seem to acheive the right level of blind patriotism required.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

So the Haunted Mansion redone as The Nightmare Before Christmas totally rocked! On the third time through, I was still noticing new details. It was a really fun, relaxing weekend. On the drive down, we had a good drive listening to Cetaganda on tape. After a nap, Rick played with his laptop and his GPS. As we climbed over the grapevine, several satelites told us how fast we were climbing at what speed and where we were on the map. It's a cool toy, but still too rough to be more than a novelty. Still, I'm surprised the technology hasn't come together more efficiently (and inexpensively) for installation in cars. Using Rick's old P120 laptop, it kept up just fine. We got to watch ourselves come to a screeching halt at the two accidents preceeding the road work in the valley, and again at the one accident preceeding the road work in LA, and again at the accident preceeding the road work in Orange County. One of these days it would be really nice if CalTrans would learn that they need to put signs and warnings out farther than the traffic backs up. This seems to be the particular specialty of CalTrans in Southern California. When I lived there, I saw this happen far too often.

At around 2am, we finally made it to the Candy Cane Inn. It was as nice as advertised - definitely a cut above the average motel surrounding Disneyland. We got up the next morning (with some help from the maid staff) and picked Fred up at the airport. He had plans with Marla on Friday night, so he flew down and joined us. We decided to spend the extra money and get a flex passport so that we could hop between parks. This ended up being such a good idea. We spent the next few days wandering back and forth, using the FastPass system to it's full advantage. California Adventure has also added Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - Play It! in the Hollywood section. This was a lot of fun. We played it three times during the weekend, and I consistently found myself in the top ten list, but never quite made it to the top of the list to get into the hotseat. In fact, in every top ten, it seemed that at least one of us was there. We had our usual lunch on Saturday at the Blue Bayou. Something about that place always puts me in a better, calmer mood. It's such a perfect illusion. We also tried lunch at the Soap Opera Bistro on Sunday. We found ourselves in the Chandler Mansion from All My Children. It meant nothing to me, but apparently Rick watched soaps as a teenager so that he could talk about them with girls. Anyway, our waiter was a hoot. He couldn't have been more than 19, but he was dressed in smoking jacket and ascot and portrayed himself as a lush. Very silly.

We headed home about 1:00 on Monday after one last try for the hotseat in Millionaire and one more pass through the Haunted Mansion. By 7:00 we wer back in San Jose, dropping Fred at Marla's apartment. Dirk, Tracey, and Camryn came over for coffee and dessert. Camryn has accquired two front teeth, and she's starting to walk. She walked over to me from the table. Amazing. Every time I see her, she's a totally different person. We traded stories of various house hunting experiences. We showed them pictures of the place we're looking at on Pomeroy. They showed us pictures of the place they're looking at in Ravenna. They headed back to the city around 10:30. We got ready for bed. And then the music started.

Around 11:30, some really loud Indian music began wafting in from the parking lot. After ten minutes or so, Rick poked his finger through the blinds to see what was up. There was a guy, very very drunk, stumbling in and out of his car, trying to call on his cel phone. Indian music was straining the speakers of his little Honda Accord. Our neighbor Mo was just walking out to go talk to the guy. After a moment, Mo gave up and headed back inside. The guy started to get back in his car and back up. That's when we decided to call the cops. This guy couldn't stand, and the thought of his being out driving around was terrifying. A few minutes later we went down to investigate. The guy had backed up, but not driven away, and the music was as loud as ever. I walked out front and ran into our neighbor's cat Spooky. I picked her up and took her over to their place. Scott and Carolina work swing shifts so they're usually up at this hour. Unfortunately, their daughter was trying to sleep, but there was no chance of sleep in our building tonight. Before long, Scott, Mo, Rick and I were all standing out there shooting the breeze. Around 12:30, the drunken guy's friend arrived and walked him inside the apartments. A moment later, I saw a cop roll by, so I ran out to the street to catch her. The drunk guy had left his cell phone sitting on top of his car roof. In the next few minutes, three cop cars pulled up. By now, most of the neighbors (who had apparently all called the police) were standing around telling tales of what they saw this guy do. By 12:40, we were all heading back inside to try doing that sleep thing again. I was so tired yesterday.

Unfortunately, Tigger seemed unwell on Tuesday morning. She wouldn't jump up on the bed with us for morning snuggles, and she didn't eat her food from last night. So I called an made a vet appointment for 6:15 and hoped she'd be fine in the interim. An hour at the vet, and $171 later, she was ready to head home. By the time we were ready for bed, she still hadn't eaten anything all day. Rick headed to the store for some baby food, which is her food of choice when ill. We coaxed her into eating a tablespoon of Gerber Veal. I would never eat veal myself, but if it's the only thing my sick cat will eat, then so be it. I'm still waiting to hear back from the vet this morning. Hopefully it's just a little tummy ache. Still, it sure worries me when she's sick.

Friday, October 19, 2001

We're going to Disneyland this weekend to see the Haunted Mansion redone as The Nightmare Before Christmas. Looking again at the article on LaughingPlace.com, I noticed an article about Halloween at Disneyland Paris. Now I really wish I was going there this weekend instead. Meanwhile, spring fares to Paris are coming out and they're all less than $500. Woohoo! I'm going to Paris this year dammit. (unless of course we end up buying a house. sigh.)

Something random I've noticed in this season's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lots of the characters are wearing shirts with numbers on them. I don't know if this is merely a fashion trend, or part of a secret code. Am I reading too much into my television? Probably. Still, it's been really obvious. It was especially prominent in the first episode of the season, and also showed up in several other episodes. I wonder what it could mean?

Monday, October 15, 2001

Okay, in other news, this anthrax thing has now gone well beyond the level of coicindence. It's concerted, and it's being sent to highly visible members of the political and media landscapes. I just don't know how I feel about it all. We're busy thinking of making an offer on a townhouse, but I'm having this semi-(ir)rational fear that city dwelling may become less valuable in the near future. Not that everyone will move away. Just that it won't be the value that it is right now. Bay Area housing prices don't seem to have any foundation in reality, so it's not a completely far cry to imagine the prices coming down to say, what they were three or four years ago. The place Rick and I are looking at right now (listed currently at $359k) sold for $197k just four years ago. Is it really that much more valuable to live here now than it was four years ago? I'm not as sure today as I was yesterday.

Hooray! Suzi and Sandy's marriage can finally be at least civilly recognized on some level. Woohoo!

Thursday, October 11, 2001

I made the every six months pilgrimage to the dentist this morning. No cavities, but got the admonition to floss more often again. I hate that. I'm good for a month or two after I go, and then I start slacking off. Oh well. At least Dr. Kiryakos is a really great dentist. He remembered that six months ago Rick and I were talking about buying a house, and we discussed that further. He still thinks the market isn't close to as low as it's going to get. Looking at how much it has changed in the last month, I'm started to tend to agree.

On the other hand, we may make an offer on a place soon. In our random wistful browsing of the MLS website, we stumbled upon a 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhome in Santa Clara less than a mile from our current place. Now from the start, we've been looking at 2 bedroom places, never expecting to be able to afford anything better. Surprise! The complex was built by Eichler in 1964 and it's got that not so charming Eichler style on the outside. While the buildings aren't pretty to look at, they're functional, and the space inside is incredibly well utilized. They also have two patios, one of which is very large, and this particular unit has new hardwood/Pergo type floors in the kitchen and dining room. It also has a hot tub that comes with the property. Anyway, most of the changes they've made to the place are things similar to my preferences, so the bottom line is that it's in move in condition.

So we're thinking of making a silly lowball offer and seeing what happens. We might end up buying a townhome. Yikes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

I won! Hee hee! I went to the ITSS picnic (ITSS is the department I work for at Stanford) and had some barbecue from Armadillo Willies which was completely not allowed on my diet, but which I ate anyway. When they started calling out raffle ticket numbers, the third one they called was mine. I sat there kind of dumbfounded. They then repeated the number, and sure enough, it was my number. I never win anything. Now I won a Stanford cappucino mug. And it's all full of chocolate that's really not on my diet, but it's good to share with my team. I guess it's finally my turn to restock the candy dish!

It's homecoming week on campus. Starting tomorrow, there won't be any legal parking near my office as a result. They've set up huge pavillions on the lawn outside of my office window (and on just about every other scrap of spare grass on campus). These pavillions are white tops with four supporting poles that are open on all four sides. And each and every one of them has two EXIT signs posted on either side of the pavillion. Apparently you can walk in from any side, but if you're gonna exit, it better be from one of the two facing sides. I don't know why this struck me as so funny on my walk in to the office this morning. I'm sure it's the result of legislation and litigation run amuck. I'm sure the exit signs are there for legal reasons, but it's not like it's a room! There are no walls! It's just a shade covering. Oy.

Sunday, October 07, 2001

So last week was totally stressful. The good news is that if all goes well tomorrow, there's a strong chance I'll be as ready as I was hoping for to teach the Manage Payroll Records class on Tuesday. The other good news is that I managed to stay on my diet all week. Yay! The bad news is that we bombed Afghanistan today. That's really depressing. I still have so many questions and doubts about why we're striking back with bombs. We're striking back in a way that says we're no better than they (Osama, the Taliban, whoever). I know that a response is necessary, but this just doesn't feel right. Kinda messed with my relaxing day off. So, instead of burying myself in news coverage, I headed out to go shopping, and followed that up with some Buffy reruns and hair dying at home.

We're having an office decorating contest for Halloween. I've dived in with a whole Nightmare Before Christmas theme. That's actually the only thing that kept me occupied on Friday while I had to wait for the database to be available for editing. Usually, on Fridays, we can update the training databas from 10-5. Since I'm teaching Tuesday, I had to make some edits. In the morning they were supposed to upload my new training IDs and some tables that had been left out the week before, and then I was supposed to go in after that and test it all, and do my updates. All before 5:00 of course. By 1:30, I still hadn't heard that it was safe to go in and check the database or update it, but my office space was nicely decorated! Oh well. I finally got into the database around 2:00 and managed to get most of the testing done before 5:00, and then did most of my data entry after that. The real test will be tomorrow. Now I just need a copy of the Nightmare Before Christmas CD to rip to my hard drive and I'll be ready for Halloween. This weekend I even got a little fake Christmas tree and some jack-o-latern lights to decorate it with. Hee hee! I love Halloween!

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

Oh so tired.... Witty... Interesting... later... Payroll Monkey says, "Ook! Ook!"

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

So I went to Weight Watchers today. I signed up for the whole thing. I even signed up for their e-Tools online. I even prepaid for 10 weeks of meetings so that I couldn't get stingy near the end of the month and decide to save money and not go. What's a little scary is how overweight I've let myself get. I weighed in at 157.6 pounds today. In the booklet they hand out, it says that for my height, my maximum weight should be 131 pounds. Zoinks! Okay, so, I guess I have about 30 pounds to lose. I just don't feel THAT overweight. But, I guess I am, because I remember being reasonably satisfied with my body at 127. Time to go visit that weight again. Yep. If I'm ambitious, dedicated, and lucky, I may be able to make it by Thanksgiving. If not, I hope dancing at Dickens Fair will help me get there by New Year's. Well, that's it. That's the goal. Really, the goal is 15 pounds by dress rehearsal weekend. I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

I tried on my costume for Dickens Fair on Friday night. I guess I haven't gained as much weight as I thought. If I can lose just 5 or maybe 10 pounds in the next month, then I can wear my current costume. I put Emily on hold for redesigning it. I want to fit back into it. I did manage to get into the corset and get everything buttoned, but it was a bit tight across the top. I can do this though. I can lose the weight. I've got all the incentive in the world. I need to do it for my feet. I need to do it for my costume. I need to do it for my personal sanity. So I'm going to do it. That's my whole goal structure for the month. Tomorrow I'm going to Weight Watchers at 12:15 to sign up. I need to weigh in weekly to keep myself honest. No more dawdling. No more "I'll start after such and such event". Forget it. Now is the time.

On the flipside, I went to the thrift store on Sunday with Rick and found two dresses that just screamed out to the little goth girl within. Now I'm planning to go to the Bal de Vampire just because I have something I have to wear. It's black and slinky and looks absolutely fabulous with my corset underneath. The other dress was a black lace babydoll that I haven't any idea when I'll be able to wear. It fits alright, but it's very very see-through. It's funny because I'd just given up on finding anything at the thrift store because the place was under seige for Halloween costumes. Usually that means that anything slightly kooky or interesting has been snatched up to be destroyed as part of a costume that will be worn once and discarded. There was one girl wandering around with her mother trying to put together an 80's outfit. The funny thing was that the mom was picking out all sorts of stuff worn by the average schmoe in the 80's and the daughter was thinking archtypal 80's - leg warmers, cut off sweatshirts, and so forth. The mom kept saying, "If you're going to do 80's, it may as well be authentic." and she proceeded to pick out things she undoubtedly would've worn in the 80's. It was funny to watch. Finally, I ended up suggesting one way to alter a skirt that would make it do more what she was looking for. She was totally thrilled. Like totally dude.