Almost there...

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

When, oh when, will my Jedi mind powers ever start working? Sigh.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Went to the Plough for the first time in months last night and had a good time. It was nice to see old friends, and much of the political bullshit that became so oppressive in recent history wasn't personally troublesome last night. Just some good friends and good dancing. I think I'll reincorporate Plough in my life, not as the thing I do on Mondays, but instead as a thing I do sometimes that happens on Monday night. That's a start.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Driving into campus the other day, the song "Right Here, Right Now" came on the radio. I remember when that song came out. The Berlin Wall had fallen. Russia was talking glasnost and peristroyka. Nelson Mandela had been released from prison in South Africa. The world that had teetered on the brink for so long had finally fallen, but fallen in a good way. Things were changing. The Cold War was over. The world could finally start working together, spend less on military and more on science and innovation. I don't think I was alone in feeling that way. I think the dotcom era rose out of that sense of promise.

Compare that sense to now, little more than 10 years later. Russia isn't the enemy, but it isn't exactly an ally, and we've created a whole new set of enemies. Regimes that we created because of the Cold War, we now march in and overthrow. Our military budget is soaring these past couple of years, and we continue to build more nuclear weapons even though we have enough to destroy all life on earth thousands of times over. We're poised to become the next imperialistic power, but pay no mind to our foundering economy.

It made me sad. So much promise squandered.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Went to see Urinetown with Fred last night. It was brilliant and hilarious. What I didn't know until after the show was that it was written by a former Neo-Futurist. It's about a town in the future where a severe drought lasting for decades has led to the abolition of private bathrooms, and where the only legal place to pee is a publc toilet, and those public toilets are all controlled by one corporation, and they keep getting fee hikes passed. Those that can't pay or who pee elsewhere are taken to "Urinetown". That's bad.

How is this hilarious you ask? Well, there's Officer Lockstock and Little Sally, who frequently have little asides about what's going to happen later in the show and such. There's... well, heck. You would have to see it to believe it. Perhaps only Kevin and Sherman can get a decent mental picture of the show by imagining the Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind folks doing a full musical production, with all the required elements of a musical, but with a sort of sideways message about the American consumerist lifestyle being unsustainable.

No, really. It was really really funny.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Friendster is cool, but not for the reason it was intended. About once a month, I either stumble across an old friend or they stumble across me. I just got a friend request from someone I haven't talked to in about five years, but who I had just referenced earlier this week. And now I know he's well, living in Sacramento, and making a living as a dance teacher. It's just so darned cool. Now if only Friendster were a bit more stable. Too often I get server timeouts and system unavailable messages. It's a victim of its own popularity.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Lately I've been walloped up side the head with my friends' impressions of my other friends. It's very odd. One old friend was recently described to me as "laying a lot of pipe", as in, having sex with a lot of people. This is not an impression I can even imagine having of this person. Sure, he's dated a lot of women over the years, but it's been YEARS, and it was always one at a time, and he doesn't have a lot of flings outside of those relationships, and there are long periods of dry spells between women. He's still looking for Ms. Right. Is he supposed to be celibate until he's married to one of these girls? It was a really odd impression. Still can't get my brain around it a couple of weeks later. But one friend said it and another agreed. But that doesn't even begin to jive with my impression of this person.

Then last night another friend described one of our mutual friends as "smarmy". I can't imagine perceiving this person that way. I know smarmy guys. All too many of them. But this friend is hardly smarmy. He's thoughtful, and adventuresome, and kind, and giving. He's someone who's always thinking. He isn't even a little bit smarmy. And the even weirder part is that the friend who said this person was smarmy has dated some of the smarmiest guys I've ever known. It's just so weird. Perhaps my definition of smarmy is very different from hers, but I don't think so. It's just looking through different eyes, seeing very different worlds around us.

What must others say about me!?

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Oh, and one other thing. I've recently stopped biting my fingernails. It happened by accident, but now I'm getting used to it. I spend a lot of time fussing with my nails right now as they're growing out because it keeps surprising me that they exist. They've been encouraging me to bite them for the last couple of days. I've resisted. I've wanted to stop biting my nails for years. I don't know if it will last, but for right now, it's kind of fun. It gives me hope on other things I've wanted to do for a while like lose 20 pounds and such. 3 weeks of nail growth and still growing. And yet, they still haven't reached the end of my fingers. Maybe next week.

Okay, so when there is a calm, I turn to the web.

Lee sent me this link: air hockey table for sale: $300. So very tempted.

And there was this on Lizzie's Live Journal: The Matrix (ASCII). Some people not only have too much time on their hands, but are far less lazy than average. And have much more artistic skill. Yeah. Oh, and if this doesn't seem to be working, it is. Press Stop, then press Play. Scroll down. It's all just ascii. Yeah.

Zumanity has a new clip of their rehearsals. I can't believe we'll be seeing this so close to when they first start performing. It will be fascinating to come back and see how the show has matured 3 or 4 years hence.

And now to go listen to the This American Life episode I missed last weekend. They tried to do 30 stories in 60 minutes, inspired by Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Proving how hard it is, Ira and his team didn't make it. 20 stories in 60 minutes, a valiant attempt.

There's an odd sort of quiet around the office right now. No feet clomping. No doors sqeaking. No hallway conversations happening. It's mimicking the sort of wait I'm experiencing. I've got one thing left to do before go live, and that's scheduled for 4:00 because I have to borrow someone else's computer. There are other things I could be doing - revising the manual for Manage Positions or Manage HR Records, creating new job aids for create a position and create a job requisition, and so forth. But there's a hovering sort of calm. Tomorrow will be very busy. Yesterday was very busy. Monday is unknowable. For today, it's like the air has been let out of the tire, and you're waiting for Triple A to show up. A waiting calm. And it's odd.

Tonight I'm going to see a favorite old film at the Stanford Theater - Meet Me In St. Louis. They still haven't put it out on DVD, so I'll take this opportunity to soak it up at the theater, probably with a slice of pizza at Pizza My Heart as a starter.

Monday, July 14, 2003

We just did a live system test with three transactions in the production system. It all worked perfectly. Guess we're really ready to go live a week from today. Yay!

Saturday, July 12, 2003

It's been a long strange week. Kevin's dad's death hit me a little harder than I expected. I found myself utterly speechless in a 10:00 meeting on Tuesday that started about 1 minute after I got off the phone with Kevin. Harish asked me to report on status and I said, "um, can you come back to me. I just found out my best friend's dad died, and I'm not ready." Luckily he acquiesced. The rest of the week had that event as a subtext. I called my mom. Tried to call my dad. His answering machine isn't working and he's off somewhere for FEMA. I wanted to let him know that I really appreciated the effort he's been making this year. Our relationship has always been rocky because he tends to be highly negative and judgemental, but he's been trying to be a better person lately, and I want that to be rewarded. Unfortunately, the postcards he sends from back east don't have address info, and his answering machine at home isn't working. Mergle. Hopefully we'll be able to repair our relationship and come to some understanding before he dies.

Kevin's dad apprently died of a heart attack. I really feel like I lost a big opportunity by not knowing him better. His life had a lot to teach, and he was just a fascinating person. I decided on Wednesday or Thursday not to go down for the funeral. With a week and a half before my project goes live, and plans every night this week, getting away was going to be tough. I had thought of going to support Kev, but then found out he had Rachel, Karen, and Emily coming, and suddenly I was worrying about being more of a burden than an asset. I sent a gift down for Kevin (some favorite candy, and a gift certificate for some tub time at Watercourse Way for when Kev is ready/able to relax), and So, the housewarming party went on last night, and Emily brought the Cribbage game David had given her, and a bubble bear from the funeral, and some champagne poppers. Games were played, fun was had, and we ended the evening by launching a round of poppers onto the front lawn. The neighbors were probably less than thrilled, but it was fun, and David was a fun guy.

It all just winds around so oddly. Last weekend I was sitting around on Saturday thinking, "I sure miss Kevin." And I called him and we played phone tag for the rest of the weekend, and on Tuesday when I finally caught up to him, it was when he'd just found out his dad died. I'm just glad Kevin's last interaction with his dad wasn't phone tag. He had just talked to him on his birthday. In fact, he may have been one of the last people to talk to him. Wog.

But life went on this week too. My coworker and I had an "offsite meeting" and saw Pirates of the Carribean on Wednesday. It ruled. Lots of pirately swashbuckling goodness. Exactly what it needed to be. Not exactly great cinema. Not a film that changed the world. But lots of fun piratey goodness. Johnny Depp is utterly amazing. After that, I went on to Persephone's swing class, which was as frustrating as the week before. Thursday was a lovely dinner with Bates and Dawn, including a yummy sauce that I made her hand over the recipe for. We topped off that evening with 3 episodes of Coupling. No matter how many times I see it, it's still funny. Tonight is Rachel and Jim's birthday party, and tomorrow is Afro Celt Soundsystem at Stern Grove. Fun. Lots of it. Fun in the face of death. Thanatos claimed one fun person this week, but the rest of us will carry on.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I think I just found my next new car. It changes the one totally goofy element of the original Prius (the dashboard emergency brake), and adds a hatchback. I've always wanted a hatchback, and hatchback that's a hybrid is a dream come true. Remember that thing I said about resisting the urge to get a hybrid? Just got a lot harder. Hopefully I can hold out until the 2005 model to give them a year to shake out the quirks. But I will be test driving one when they come out. Oh yes, that's me, walking a dangerous line. Yep.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Just paid off my car loan. The balance finally got low enough that it seemed like the right thing to do. It would've been another year to pay off slowly, and even though putting that money into the bank instead won't exactly get me a high rate of return (since Wells Fargo is currently pay 1/4% interest on my savings), it will save me some money in interest charges, even though my interest rate was really really low. The cost of interest for the entire life of the loan was around $850. This saves me the last $140 of that. And it saves me one additional monthly payment. And it put a nice little dent in my savings so that I don't get cocky.

Now I just have to work on resisting the urge to get a hybrid for the next couple of years.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Looks like I'll be doing pretty well in my old age, at least mentally. My two favorite activities are dancing and playing games with friends. And those activities are now officially linked with lower incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's in old age.

Which reminds me... we're so overdue for a games night at our place. Wonder what folks are doing next weekend...

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Busy busy busy. I'm not working more than normal at this point, but getting caught up to the starting line again is a lot of work, especially when burnout looms and there's a total lack of recognition for the effort and achievement put forth in the last couple of months.

Last Thursday I got to go see Wicked at the Curran theater. The show was truly great. I really hope it thrives on Broadway. The cast was impressive. The main character was played by Idina Menzel who was the original Maureen on Broadway. The show really took the box that the Wizard of Oz inhabited, turned it 90 degrees and told it as a completely different story. This version was a story about civil rights and how when you try to do something good, sometimes it comes out all wrong. I highly recommend going to see it before it flies off to Broadway.