Almost there...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Clothes Swap

So what happens when you get 16 women (and one toddler) together to trade clothes? Well, first your living room turns into an explosion of textiles. Then everyone takes a moment to introduce themselves over appetizers in the dining room. (At which point names seemed useless, but LJ handles were more helpful, and affinity groups by occupation were also entertaining.) Then they start to churn through the clothes. As women begin to doss down to underthings after a few futile attempts at modesty, there's rapidly a parade of outfits in front of the mirror in the kitchen. The toddler even got in on the act, shedding his clothes and trying on several sweaters, a couple of dresses, and finally settling on an sports shirt. After an hour, there's a whole new strata of clothing exposed and there's plenty of things you'd not seen before. Finally, there's lots of flotsam left over which totals nine large bags of leftovers, now cheerfully destined for Out of the Closet. I myself didn't find much, but that's okay. I did find homes for some old favorites that I'm too big for nowadays. It's hard to imagine myself as thin as Emily, but I guess I was at one time. My "going to the opera" gown from years past (which never actually made it to the opera despite my fondest intentions) fit her like it was made for her. It needs a bit of cleaning/pressing, but it's such a great dress. I'm so happy to see it appreciated again.

Many thanks to Ari and Auntie and Laura who helped me pack those nine bags up at the end and trundle dishes and leftovers back to the kitchen. Methinks this affair was a total success.

Viral Obesity

Was it a simple cold, or did you catch obesity too? It's a disturbing thought. Is it that we just seem to gain weight as we age, or that we just catch the wrong virus and suddenly obesity comes more naturally? And if they do develop a vaccine for these viruses, then will there be a lost generation, victim of the ills of obesity when the younger generation just doesn't understand what the big deal is? Sounds like a foundation for a science fiction story.

Holy crap!

Just when I thought my experience with Firefly fandom was waning, it's been called to the fore once again. I got word this morning that I'm officially one of the organizers for the 2006 Browncoat Ball. We're hosting in San Francisco. Next step is to set dates, confirm the location, and post a web page selling tickets. After that, I get to spend the next six months planning a Firefly/Serenity themed weekend for 200 out of town guests. Yipe!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Reg Office Drama update

Sometimes being a persistent bitch is an absolute requirement of my job. So after leaving the third message for the one guy in the Reg Office, he apparently got the clue that I wouldn't be blown off. He forwarded my third message to someone else in the Reg Office who got back to me. I explained the scenario, and we looked at the kid's record together and he told me exactly who the student should talk to. I called the student back and left a message for him and followed up with an email.

Beyond that, all of this happened the same day that another student sent a HelpSU ticket about having trouble dropping his minor. We're aware of a problem with the system and we're working through it, but we don't have a fix yet, so we're telling students they can drop their majors/minors/interdisciplinary honors by filling out a paper form in the Reg Office. So I called the student to tell him that, and he said he'd already talked to the Reg Office and they'd told him to talk to ITSS because this was a "low priority problem". Well, we'd already agreed on this workaround with the Reg Office, so I called Max to see if I was missing something. Nope. He was horrified. He wanted me to send an email to the Reg Office and CC our team. This being a touchy scenario, I opted to just send it to our team. From there, my boss took it to their boss. Having two cases of very wrong information coming from the Reg Office tips the scales from "the student is probably lying" to "we may have a problem". I'll take it. Hopefully there will be at least a small shift in how things go around here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Reg Office Drama... again.

Le sigh.

Just when I was about to begin a bridge building project with the Registrar's Office, where I'd go ask them all about the business processes surrounding transcripts and include all of that into the big transcripts documentation project I'm working on, I go head to head with the team lead again.

There was a student who was on leave, and he was supposed to be coming back at the start of fall quarter. Instead, he's coming back next quarter, but he needs to get things lined up for financial aid next year, so he needs to get this all worked out pretty soon. So the kid did the right thing - he went to the Reg Office and they told him he had to go through Axess. He went back home and logged into Axess and couldn't get anywhere because now all he has is alumni access. So he went back to the Reg Office, was told something slightly different, and again went home to try to go through Axess, thinking maybe he missed something. The next day he went back to the Reg Office and they told him to file a HelpSU ticket to get his access to Axess straightened out. So I get the ticket, look it up, and tell the kid that he's discontinued and that the Reg Office will need to take care of it. He tells me about what the Reg Office has already told him. I sigh. He starts to try to explain further, and I explain that no, really, I'm sorry, and I'll call the Reg Office and see if I can help him get this worked out.

So I call the Reg Office person and he's on the phone so I leave a message explaining the scenario. He doesn't call me back, but just replies to my message saying that this is not a help desk issue and the student needs to come to the Reg Office. Thinking perhaps I had left something out the first time I called, I reply to his message saying that the student had been to the Reg Office and that they'd told him to send a HelpSU ticket and I was trying to get information so that the student has the best information possible before returning to the Reg Office so that he doesn't get stuck in a loop of the Reg Office saying send a HelpSU ticket and me saying he has to talk to the Reg Office. At this point I also email my manager thinking the risks here are high when compared with the last set of drama from this office. About an hour later, I get another reply to my message from the Reg Office saying that it's not a help desk issue and the student needs to come to the Reg Office, with not so much of an acknowledgement of comprehension that the student has already been to the bloody Reg Office. Well, that sealed it for me. It's not that he doesn't understand the problem. It's that he doesn't care. Well screw that. He's just preying on a vulnerable kid who is not even twenty years old yet and I won't let him do that. I don't care if it means I have to go to the Reg Office with the student, I'm going to make sure this kid gets the help he needs and the jerks in the Reg Office can kiss my ass. I'm so sick of them treating our team as adversaries rather than coworkers. It's unprofessional and counter-productive and it's shameful to the university. Yep, I got my righteous indignation hat on tonight!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lestat the Musical Horror

Just to be honest up front, I'm a fan of musicals. Love 'em. I'll blithely sing show tunes from Rent or Avenue Q or Singing in the Rain or whathaveyou given almost any opportunity and no audience. I'm also a fan of the Vampire Chronicles, or was when I was younger. So really, this musical should've been right up my alley. Really.

But oh, how wrong it all went. So very very bad. By the end of the first song, I was worried. By the end of the first act, I was ready to leave. By the end of the show, Rick and I went to Cafe Mason to split our usually Profiteroles au Chocolat and we both just kept mumbling to ourselves, trying to come up with something nice to say. The lighting - the lighting was very well done. Yeah. Um. Claudia's "More" song was kind of cute. Um. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

So I got to thinking about what all went wrong. Several things occurred to me. One is that they got the tone of Lestat's character all wrong. Lestat of "The Vampire Lestat" was a swaggering twenty-one year old. He starts the book basically saying, "Oh my god, Louis is such a whiner." And then he proceeds to tell you how it was from his more suck-the-marrow-out-of-life perspective. In the musical, Lestat seemed more driven to find companionship and always failing to choose the right companions, and was aware of it and was letting it destroy him. So, that departure didn't really help the story. Then they tried to cover the entire content of the nearly 500 page novel in a 2 hour musical. Bad move. And the cuts that were made basically left a vague charcoal sketch with a hint of homeroticism and a hint of family bonds and little else. Now, with Elton John at the helm, it's not a huge surpise that that's what he found interesting. But the whole Elton John factor really was another downfall. The whole thing was just so darned earnest. And what I realized pretty early on was that I like a little irony and a lot of sardonic wit in my modern musicals. So my favorites are Wicked and Urinetown and Rent rather than Phantom of the Opera. All of Elton John's musicals take themselves very seriously - The Lion King, Aida, etc.. So there's that problem. And sadly, at the end of the day, it just never gelled. None of the songs were especially compelling or catchy. And the slice of the material was just disappointing. But there's this lovely light effect with the curtain in their house in New Orleans that's just great. And well, some things are just so much better in print with only your mind to put forth visuals for you. I suspect this will have a very short run on Broadway, possibly using the patented Bialystock "Opening Night/Closing Night" sign. Woof.

Add to that that the Hilton gave us a big hassle as we were leaving the parking structure, attempting to charge us $36 apiece for parking instead of the usual $9, even though I'd confirmed the rate over the phone earlier in the day. I asked to speak to the manager after the parking guy wouldn't be reasonable, and instead of the manager, the security guard came down. I explained the scenario again, and he also wouldn't honor the commitment another employee made earlier in the day, asking the name of who I talked to, and refusing to believe me. He said, "Well, I just can't give you the benefit of the doubt." To which I got completely offended, because not only had they sent security instead of a manager, now the security guy was basically saying I was lying because although I could recall the basic gist of the call, I couldn't recall the specific name of the person I talked to because at the time I never assumed I'd need to know, because I believed the Hilton to stand by their word, not have any trouble, and didn't expect a full inquisition. Foolish me for trusting them to be honorable. At that point I said, "Well, that's your role as security, but that's also why I asked for a manager and not security, and so I really need to speak to a manager now because you've just basically called me a liar and I'm really offended now." He said, "That's not what I'm saying." I said, "That's exactly what you're saying. You're saying you can't give me the benefit of the doubt and there is no doubt that I called earlier today unless you believe me to be lying about that." Finally, the manager arrived, saying "This had better be good." He gave me a whole song and dance about how busy they were tonight, and I said I really didn't care at this point and that I'd called earlier, spoken to a Hilton SF employee, been told one thing, and now was expected to pay $27 more than I was told even though there was another garage I would've parked at had I gotten the right information earlier in the day. He too asked me the name of who I'd spoken to and chided me for not writing it down to which I responded that I had presumed that the Hilton was an honorable and customer focused business and that I wouldn't have any need to have this conversation. Finally he acquiesced and gave us the $9 rate, though at that point, I honestly felt that after a half hour of discussion, it should've been gratis, but regardless, we were finally out of there, concluding the most ill-fated night of theater in a long long time.

Going to Tempest on Friday

Okay, so the knees are recovering rapidly. I'm still many lovely shades of blue, purple, and yellow there, and I won't be kneeling, but starting yesterday, I was actually moving normally, and today I'm better still, so game on! I'm going dancing on Friday! Woohoo!

So come out and play. Tempest and Avalon Rising are both playing (Avalon Rising first, then Tempest), and the show starts at 9:30, and the cover is just $12. And there will be dancing! Because Ammy must dance!!! Probably only waltzes and Irish though. No swing yet as the left wrist is being less generous about recovering quickly, probably because it didn't seem so bad on Saturday so I didn't baby it, and then I went to work and typed and moused with it all week. But dancing! Yay!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Lesser Madness

The Greeks had a very important ritual which I usually have to remind myself of this time of year. At Pyanepsia, they celebrate the closing of the seas, the end of the season of Apollo, and the start of the season of Dionysus. The ritual asks you to embrace the lesser madness of the season rather than let the greater madness overtake you. What this means in a very real sense is that people will be inside together in close quarters more often for several months of bad weather. What that means in today's world is that we're inside, dealing with a series of holidays, while dealing with bad weather and the effects of bad weather, and being sick, and did I mention the holidays? For me, this season is more or less bounded by Thanksgiving on the one end and Valentine's Day on the other end. Thanksgiving to Christmas seems to be a time of pressure primarily focused amongst families. New Year's Eve to Valentine's seems to be a time of pressure in relationships (couples, or for single folks longing for couple-hood). It's the time of year with the stresses show cracks, and sometimes those cracks blast apart. It pretty much happened to Rick and I last year, but we recovered, and I must say things are just lovely this year. Heck, he even cleaned his room this weekend, so I'm happier than I've been in months. (Did I mention the lesser madness? Sure, it may seem slightly crazy to be so happy about a clean office, but hey, I'm embracing it!) On the other hand, I'm watching too many friends get swept up in the greater madness, saying horrible things like "separation" and "divorce" and "cancer" and "miscarriage" and I'm just so very thankful this year, while at the same time feeling terrible about the things happening to them.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Taking the Elevator

I'm a take-the-stairs kind of girl at the office most of the time, and as penance for my usual arrival time on campus, I'm usually going down five floors of stairs to get to the office in the morning. This morning, I took the elevator. This allowed me a minute of standing at the top of the parking garage, looking out over the lush green hills and the sharp blue sky with thin white wisps decorating it. It was really pretty.

She Flew Well, But Landed Poorly

Saturday started well. I woke up and took Pixel to get his shots. It was a vaccine clinic at Pet Food Express, and our little boy was a total rock star in his kitty pouch. Everyone cooed at him and said, "Doesn't he have the prettiest coat!" and "Oh, his little tufty ears are so cute!" and "My isn't he a confident cat." And his took his three shots without any complaint, and the staff all just shook their heads and said, "What a great cat!" and I said, "I know." So then I bought him lots of treats and toys, because he was such a very good boy.

Back home, I called Christyn and Brian to see if Brian had time to fix my car door hinge and if I should bring Pixel over to play with their kittens. Soon, I was headed over with Pixel in tow, and Brian and I went out to see about replacing the swing hinge. It's the little piece that keeps the door from swinging free, which is much more important than you'd suspect. Anyway, turns out Saturn had sold me the wrong side, so I had to go back. I left Pixel with Christyn and Brian and headed out to Saturn of Stevens Creek. They didn't have the other part, but Saturn of Capitol Expressway did, so I headed there. Finally, back to Christyn and Brian's, Brian installed the new hinge lickety-split because he's cool like that. We arranged for me to carpool up to Karen and Crystal's party with them since Rick would be returning from points east to replace his ATM card and would meet me at the party.

So I packed up Pixel and headed home, parking in the driveway temporarily. I came inside and started on a project, realizing about 6 that I needed to be ready to go shortly. So I quickly changed my shirt and shoes and headed out to move the car into the back. While outside, I heard the phone ring. So I shut the car door and turned to head back inside, thinking it was either Christyn calling with an update on their ETA, or Rick calling to tell me something important. I took one step in the grass, and one step on the walkway, and then found myself on hands and knees on the cement. Ouch. Deep breath, and assessed for broken bones, and sat there for a moment trying to figure out how that all happened. Then I realized the phone was still ringing. I stood up, and found my shoe very stuck in a big mass of dog poop on the walkway. Ew. So I stepped out of my shoes leaving them at the base of our entry steps. I answered the phone. It was Christyn saying they were on their way. I said, "Oh, okay..." I realized my pants were also smeared with dog doo. I dropped those in the hallway and realized there was a lot of pain in my knees. I went to the drawer and grabbed two ziplock baggies and to the freezer for some ice. I headed back to the bedroom to see about an alternate outfit. Sitting down, I pulled off my tights to reveal two knees, both starting to bruise rather immediately. The right one took it worse, and had an extremely dark bruise forming very quickly. Right. So, two bags of ice placed on knees and sitting still. Pixel came and dropped his new toy in my lap, because clearly I must be there to play with him. He didn't really get that my hands were full.

So then I hear, "Um... Ammy?" coming from Christyn. She was very puzzled to find abandoned shoes, a door standing open, and jeans in the hallway. I assured her that I wasn't dead, and set about trying to make a list of how to get back on track. I put the ice down and started getting dressed. And finding alternate shoes. And things. Honestly, I don't really remember. There was a lot of adrenaline involved at that point. All I know is that Brian (bless him!) took my shoes from outside and cleaned them off, and cleaned off our front walkway. Beyond that, with all that had happened, my white shirt had stayed clean. This was something of a miracle, as I usually can't wear a white shirt for 20 minutes without getting it dirty, and this white shirt had been involved in rolling on the cement in a dog poo related incident, and yet it was still clean. With this small victory blazing gloriously in the front of my mind, I pulled it together, and headed out to the party with a bag of ice for each knee.

The party was lovely. There was oodles of food including some yummy ollieberry tarts, and some of the best carrots I've ever eaten. There were lots of good friends and hours of good conversation. I succeeded in the minor coup of giving the girls a movie I'm fully assured they will love yet had not seen yet. Rick arrived around 9 and brought me a soda and I iced my knees several times. It was a lovely evening, all in all.

And this morning I slept late, and took more ibuprofen, and have a slightly bruised left hand, a well bruised left knee, and a truly artfully bruised right knee that's also terribly stiff, but all in all, for my great flight of dog doo, I suspect I'll be fully recovered by the end of the week. It could've been so very much worse.

Meanwhile, this gave me a great excuse to again skip painting the ceiling, and go see Walk The Line with Cyrus and Athena instead. Perhaps next Sunday will be the time to paint the ceiling. We shall see...

Friday, January 20, 2006

No FNW for me!

For anyone expecting to see me tonight at Friday Night Waltz, I'm not going to make it. I left my house this morning planning to go, but then Kevin sent me a link to this video which he never posted on, but which he meant to years and years and years ago. Anyway, watching it again made me cry. At work. That was a great apartment, and a legendary road trip. I wrote back and said, "I don't hang out with you enough, and if you're free tonight, I'll totally flake on dancing for the chance." And so I am.

Ah, memories. Brings me back to the days of daily Telegraph stench reports, playing Ms. Pacman over a salad bigger than my head at Coffee Source, popping in any old time and buzzing Kev and pressing my ear to the speaker and waiting for the familiar quiet buzz-click of the door and riding up the ancient elevator with the sliding gate and teh worn spot in the floor, Kev's addiction to Yogurt Park, dropping pennies in the wet cement outside his window, watching my first episodes of Buffy on Kevin's newfangled Tivo thingy while eating take-out from Gypsy's, stickering cameras for RandomPixel, and so much more. I still wish we'd been able to keep that apartment somehow. The rent was stupid-cheap (under a thousand as I recall) for a 2 bedroom apartment on the sixth floor (and top) above Telegraph Avenue, 2 1/2 blocks from campus.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sexual Perversity in Chicago

Went to ACT last night and had a lovely time with Fred, Christyn, and Rick. Dinner at Cafe Mason was yummy again, opting for the Gnocchi Alla Siciliana again, but tasted Fred's tortellini and it was the yum. Might have to have that next time. We headed to the theater, and throughout the play, Rick kept saying, "Dude, that guy reminds me of Thomas." Not in physical features at all mind you, but entirely in manner of speech. There's a certain bluntness to Thomas that makes almost everyone think, "That guy is an asshole" when they first meet him. And to a degree, it's true, but he's also a true friend and will say what needs to be said without pussy footing around. So Christyn gets up after the show and she says, "That guy reminds me so much of Thomas" and I say, "I know! That's what Rick has been saying all through the show." And yet Frederik, who barely knows Thomas can only say, "I dunno. I didn't really like it. That guy was such an asshole. I can't believe anyone would really be like that." And the three of us just start trying to explain. Anyway, now we all miss Thomas and want to see him. And then we had dessert back at Cafe Mason and told kitten tales. It was a really good night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Had A Plan...

So I had a plan for this weekend. It involved cleaning my office space, Rick cleaning and organizing his office, painting the ceiling in the third bedroom, cutting up the fallen branch in the back yard. But...

Got a call from Justin saying, "Hey, wanna see you guys, and I'm willing to drive there to do it." This is an offer I can't refuse. So Justin and Monica came down on Saturday and we took them to see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, which rocked for the second time. It turns out Ali and Mark have a friend in common with Justin who I don't know but whom both of them think is the bee's knees, so I think they all got along just perfectly. And Casa Orinda was amusingly kitschy, with two little birds hanging over the light fixture above our table, inspecting our chicken, and a giant moose head on the wall, and brands burned into the table top. And the fried chicken was indeed the best I've ever had, and the biscuit was baked in heaven.

Sunday, I'd told Justin of my plan for getting things done, but Rick was less enthusiastic about my plan and thought we should go to the Japanese Gardens in Kelly Park with them, so we did, and followed that with a trip through the History San Jose park, including a ride on a trolley that had the coolest seats ever. You pull up on them to change which direction they're facing. And then we headed to Valley Fair, where Justin and Monica wanted to visit the Sanrio store. But first we started with lunch, because breakfast was wearing thin. At this point, we introduced a Sacramento area native to Mongolian BBQ for the first time. This seems utterly impossible for me, since Sacramento is where they store all the good Mongolian BBQ restaurants, but Monica had her first try at the mall in San Jose. Go figure. Anyway, yummy Mongolian in my tummy, we headed to Sanrio, only to get distracted at Rampage and Hot Topic. Hot Topic is having one of their infamous 50% off the clearance price sales, so I got a couple of cute new tops for $6 and $7. Kinda hard to pass up. And then we made it to Sanrio. It was about this time that we realized the Winchester House might be closing soon, so a quick call illustrated that we were too slow, and Justin and Monica would have to come back to visit that another weekend (Oh darn!). After a little more browsing, including Justin and Monica getting a darling little tea set, we headed home and sent them on their way. At home, we found a Bates waiting on our doorstep. He and Alex came over and we fed them and baked (um, burned... ) cookies, and watched Equilibrium. It was a lovely evening, with absolutely no cleaning or painting.

So the ceiling painting is put off yet again. But that's okay. I really really enjoyed seeing my friends. Yay!

Bouncy Bouncy Fun Fun Fun!

With the holiday meaning a lazy day of sleeping in, going to see the Corteo demo downtown, lunch with Rick and Christyn, some housekeeping, an hour or so of actual work, and finally running an errand, I headed up to the Plough, jumping off from home at 7:52. I got there in just under 45 minutes. This is not ordinarily possible. Not by a mile. I folded space. This was just the start of a lovely evening. I danced. I danced every dance save one "dance for everyone" (Seige of Ennis - run away!!!). This gave me just enough time to run to the necessary before dancing myself senseless including calling a polka set. I introduced myself to the one unfamiliar face in the set and others explained I was one of the old ones, to which I agreed that yes, I've been doing this for a dozen years, and I've still got knees! Yay!

At the end of the reel-a-thon, I wasn't tired. My muscles weren't aching. I asked if we'd missed something. We hadn't. This morning I wasn't sore. So though I'm overweight - nay, obese according to our federal government - I'm in pretty good shape physically. Sure, I'd like to lose 20 pounds, but only if I can keep all the muscle and cardiovascular endurance.

Friday, January 13, 2006


This concept amuses me. Guerilla social engineering. Yay!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Belly Dancing

Y'know, I did go ahead and sign up for the Belly Dancing class. It's taking place 20 steps from my office door and it's forcing my body to move in ways that don't come naturally, but which I suspect will build new and different muscles and stretch out some of my routine low back crunchies. Now I just need to do some sit-ups at home and I'll have a fairly complete basic exercise routine.

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

For those of you who remember the first road trip out to Pittsburgh, you probably remember that one of the major highlights was seeing Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind in Chicago. 30 plays in 60 minutes. And they made us brownies. It rocked.

Then, a couple of years ago, Miramonte High School was doing a production. We found out because Ali works there.

Well, Miramonte is at it again. So this Saturday, we're making a pilgrimage back to Orinda to see it, and see what they've done this time. 30 plays in 60 minutes. Plus, we're going to add to the road trip feel by dining at Casa Orinda, an Orinda fixture known for it's fantastic fried chicken and biscuits. It's been there in Orinda since long before there was a freeway, and it's decorated in an old west theme, which may be kitschy, or possibly just unintentionally funny. We'll see. Anyone else want to come along? The show starts at 7pm at 750 Moraga Way. Call me if you need more info.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Karfluki Fest

Boggle. Tempest is having their own festival. I've been going to Tempest shows for entirely too long (um, since before it was legal for me to do so, so say 13 years). They absolutely rock as a live band. Sadly, their CDs never seem to capture the same magic or energy that the live shows have. But wow, go figure, they're having their own festival. Maybe going to Karfluki Fest would be fun.

Of course, I'm already planning to go the Starry Plough show with Tempest and Avalon Rising on January 27th. Anyone else gonna come dance with me?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

To Sum Up

There is so much I’ve failed to mention the past few weeks. To quickly sum up:

The Producers with Siannan last week was a hoot. I’m a sucker for musicals, so this was perfect for me. I kept having that “Oh look at Matthew Broderick, he’s not Ferris Bueller’s age anymore” moment, but I got over it. He and Nathan Lane were both fabulous. And Will Ferrell was actually not annoying, which really surprised me. And Uma Thurman was too perfect as Ulla. Hummana-hummana.

Back in December, we went to see Rent with Siannan. That’s when we saw the preview for the Producers and decided we simply must go see that together when it comes out. Rent was interesting. It was the entire original cast, save 2 characters – with Rosario Dawson doing Mimi and Tracie Thoms (from Wonderfalls) as Jo-Ann. The songs were great. Seeing it all again was nostalgic. But really, I was to smack the director. Part of the thing with Rent is that all this stuff (the entire first act) takes place in one night. It’s one intense night that changes everything forever. Only in the movie, it’s stretched out over a week. Maybe they thought, “No one will buy that all this occurs in one day.” But that’s just stupid because I’ve had those days. More than once. Anyway, that annoyed me a lot. Then they also sanitized the show a bit by cutting Contact and replacing it with a very clinical death scene for Angel. There was some other stuff too that seemed to be changed for the sake of a PG-13 rating. They also cut a couple of other songs, some of which really didn’t make sense anymore because of the change to the timeline, but another that just seemed to be lost, shortening the compressed time scale of the second act even further. There was also a lot of other problems with carelessness. They specifically stated in the opening scene that this was 1989, but there are references to things that didn’t happen until after then in the lyrics. And there’s other things like anachronistic cars and such. I could forgive that, but why 1989? 1995 or 96 is so much more appropriate. The whole thing with Rent was that it was immediate and current at the moment it debuted. After 9/11, the story acts like a snapshot immortalizing that early dot-com era where there was urban renewal coming in and taking over the urban wastelands that the homeless and the artists had claimed as their own. I mean, the whole idea of a cyber-arts studio in 1989 is a little wonky. Mergle. Anyway, I could clearly rant about this all for a while. I was hoping to get to see the movie a second time, but it was gone from even my local art houses before I got back from the Christmas holidays.

Speaking of holidays, I did very much enjoy my trip to Washington. I miss seeing Camryn grow up. She’s going to a really cool co-op pre-school. You know it’s a good place when you show up to pick her up and she says to me and her dad that we have to wait because she has to do her second turn with the puppet show. She really likes it there, and she really loves her sister. And her sister Ella is such a totally different person from Camryn. They’re truly a fascinating experiment in nature versus nurture, because they’ve been so different from birth. Ella thinks she can do everything Camryn can do, and she tries and makes it most of the time even though she’s 2 and Camryn is 5. Camryn is a bit of a perfectionist and won’t do anything unless she’s confident she can do it well. Ella just dives in and tries everything. Anyway, I just love them both and wish I could spend more time with both of them.

Meanwhile, hanging out in Richland with Frank and Janelle was fabulous too. Janelle makes yummy enchiladas. And there’s this weird store called Griggs. It’s like a hardware store that got a little out of control and took over a whole block in Pasco. And pellet stoves are just cool. Little pellets trickle in and make lots of fire and heat and not lots of ash. Very very cool. The only problem with Richland is that it borders the Hanford Reach. So Frank works for Bechtel as a sysadmin, but the group he’s working for is working on developing a nuclear waste management solution, because the nuclear waste from the research of the last 60 years is stored really nearby. That’s kinda creepy. But so long as nothing goes wrong, they get to live in a nice small town with 3 rivers, lots of fishing, some snow, and a hot tub in their backyard, and boy are housing prices cheap!

So I flew back to town on the 30th and had this quiet little fantasy about being home. Ha! I repacked a bag and bundled up my entry for the Tivo Ambassador contest and headed to San Francisco. We had tickets to Corteo, and Rick had gotten us (both my mom and us) hotel rooms in SF for the night so that we needn’t drive home after the show. But there were a few things that went wrong. First, my flight was bumpy to say the least, and I was all kinds of nauseous, so I hadn’t eaten anything all day. Okay, I ate one ginger snap when I got home. And then packed up and left, dropping the packet at Tivo, heading to the city to check in. But the reservation was kind of messed up, so that took 45 minutes to sort out. Then my mom was lost in the city. Then I realized I forgot the tickets at home. We got to dinner about 45 minute late much to my great embarrassment, but beyond that, I was so hungry by then that I was really failing to function. Dinner was nice, but would’ve been better with more time. We scooted out of Acme across to the tent in the pouring rain. Thankfully, the show was fantastic. It was a real departure for Cirque du Soleil, refocusing, reinventing circus again. They’re good at that. And I feel sorry for any parent that took their young child to the show to see people bouncing on beds and hanging from chandeliers and using ladders as stilts. It was a fantastic show, and I think everyone wants to fly (float) like Balletina. Magical. I would say more, but this summary is already too long, and it might spoil the surprise for anyone still going to see it. After the show, we were completely unable to find a cab, so back out to the pouring rain, walking to the Caltrain station five blocks away to get a cab. I’ve not been that wet while dressed in a good long time, if ever. We scrapped plans for dessert in favor of hot showers and dry jammies.

The next morning we had breakfast at Café Mason, which I love more and more every time I eat there and then went out for a bit of shopping on Union Square. I found a great jacket for Rick at Macy’s for a relatively reasonable price in the Young Men’s department, so finally he has a stylish jacket rather than the ugly fleece thingy. Then we regrouped for tea at the King George hotel. So then Rick and I sent my mom and her friend Miriam on their way, and wandered up toward Chinatown to scout for the Browncoat Ball. With a yummy fresh bao in hand, we browsed through several shops, stumbling on a cherry print piece of luggage that matched my purse and several nice Chinese jackets for less than $50. I was sorely tempted, but not really in a buying mood. So we started to head home, and got part of the way there, then decided that I really did want to go dancing. So I did a quick change in the car and off to Friday Night Waltz for New Year’s Eve. There was dancing and more dancing and then some more dancing. It was good, save for the Brassworks making some odd choices. After the ball, we went to Cynthia and Alex’s place for a little champagne and treats and I had my sole piece of See’s Candy for the year (scotch-mallow). Then on the way home, I said to Rick, “All I want to do tomorrow is stay in bed. All day. Maybe get up and make food.” He thought this sounded like a capital idea, so we basically did that. New Year’s Day passed in a flurry of cat snuggles, cinnamon rolls, and viewing of 1940’s House on DVD while lounging in bed. It was perfect.

The next day I had to get ready to return to the office. Lots of laundry and tidying and a couple of errands, going to see Brokeback Mountain with Athena, and removing a fallen tree branch from the neighbor’s orange tree from our tree so that I could get the car out in the morning. And back to the normal day by day.

And yes, I do need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

Let’s see, coming up going to ACT to see Sexual Perversity in Chicago next Wednesday, then going to see Lestat, the Musical the Wednesday after that. Then there’s Tempest and Avalon Rising at the Starry Plough on the 27th, and the Fezziwig’s Cast Party on the 28th. Also, Monday, I’m planning to make it to the Plough as I have the day off and it’s Plaid Monday. Plaid Monday is the Monday after Plough Monday, when the sword dancers come for a demo. Plaid Monday is the annual wearing of the plaid. The person with the most different plaids wins.

Belly Dancing?

I am feeling much better today, and I went to a noontime belly dancing class (with Setareh)for my regularly scheduled exercise. Found a couple of little kinks and cricks that definitely appreciated being stretched out. Generally, I’m pretty convinced that belly dance was not intended for my body shape. There’s this whole business of tucking your butt under you which… well… let’s just say my butt when tucked still sticks out more than any other white girl I know. Mental note – given the opportunity, learn hip-hop dancing. Anyway, stretching good. Forcing body into new postures is good too. Having a regularly scheduled opportunity to get out of the office and go dance is really really good. I still wish it was Joan’s Dance Fitness class, but this will be interesting to try. I never pictured myself doing belly dance. Belly dance is done by all of those older, overweight women in bad lame’ costumes at fair. I don’t want to be that. But then I got to know Kat and she’s all kinds of hot when she belly dances, so I can set aside my preconceptions and give it a whirl, eh?

Meanwhile, I managed to sort the CDs and DVDs out last night while watching a Dickens documentary on PBS. It’s interesting, though some of the finer details are a bit different than other things I’ve read in the past. Regardless, it’s definitely nice to be reminded of the characters and faces of Dickens parlor and have something more to talk to them about next year.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Redowa = owie

I went to Friday Night Waltz on Friday, arriving in time for the 8:00 redowa and reverse redowa class. I knew basic redowa going into the class, but practice makes perfect, and I wanted to learn any tricks to reversing it. I can now confidently reverse a redowa. This is good. But learning redowa is hard on the body. With two bodies attached trying to learn a leaping thing together there's a high probability of landing a little wrong a few times. Plus there just a lot of leaping. Anyway, long and short is that my calves were a little twitchy by the end of the class, sore when I got up in the morning, and after a day of walking a little funny, I was hobbling around like a little old lady by the end of the day on Saturday, and all day Sunday. Now on Monday, I'm still slightly gimpy. Oy. I'm so not 19 anymore. If this were June, I'd chalk it up to being terribly out of shape, but it's the first week of January, and I danced like a fiend for all of Dickens. Ah well, it'll be better when it stops hurting. Kinda slowed me down for this weekend though. At least I still got laundry done, including the spring cleaning items of washing the curtain swags and the shower curtain and liner. The Christmas stuff is still looming in the corner though, all collected, but not yet put away, and my office is still merely a storage unit rather than a functional workspace. Hopefully this weekend will be a little more productive. I hope to get the ceiling painted, clean out my desk space, and resort the CDs that have gone from neatly alphabetized to stacked and cluttered. Oh my glamorous life!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

4 Year-Old on the No-Fly List?

Oh good grief!

I remember a couple of years ago, flying to Seattle, there was a 2 year old selected for special random screening. Mom coached her in holding her arms up and tried to make it a game while the security guards wanded her. Because, you know, those 2 year old girls are commonly suicide bombers.

This time travelling was much saner, with everyone having learned the new drill (remove shoes and place in bin before passing through the arch) but things so quickly turn from simple to stupid. If I felt these measures were actually making us safer, it'd be one thing, but someone needs to explain to me how a four year old kid is a threat, other than from crying because his ears hurt on take-off or landing.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Caffeine-withdrawal hangover

So I've never been truly hungover. I just don't really drink much. Once in a while I have a glass of champagne or a mai-tai at Cynthia's luau. I may have been a little hungover on the Monday after close of Dickens because champagne and Martinelli's blended is just my kind of drink, better than either alone, and well, there was a headache the next day. But I don't really count that as a hangover as a couple of ibuprofen killed that right off and I had a merry old time tearing down Fezziwigs. But for the past two days, I've gone without caffeine. Well, that's normal for me right? Except that over the last couple of weeks I've definitely been all about caffeine. I was in Washington state for pity's sake! There's more drive through espresso places than McDonald's up there, even in the boonies. And so there was lots of good coffee. Plus a few sodas. I never really noticed being amped on caffeine. But now, back in the normal routine of Peet's decaf for breakfast and water in the afternoon, and boy am I muzzy in the head. Last night I had a whopper of a headache. So do I go get myself a nice afternoon soda and live the caffeinated life, or do I suffer through another day or two like this? The caffeine lives at the other end of a nice walk, which has the advantage of counting as exercise for today. I fear I shall succumb to the wiles of eager caffeine monster...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back to Work

Oddly, my first day back to work is far less busy than almost any day of my vacation.