Almost there...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Woohoo!

I got all my work done and I'm leaving on time. At 9 minutes after five!!! Woohoo!

Old Friends

Christyn and I spent the evening over Thai food with Heather Wintermantel. It's been an age since we spent any real time together, so we spent a lot of time swapping updates about friends. Several things became oddly clear. One: we have a lot of friends. Two: our circles of friends have only grown over the years, making it nigh impossible to keep up with all of them. This is why Heather has slipped off my radar a bit. Her work tends to keep her travelling, a she lives out in Danville, so we never just bump in to one another. But she and her husband Peter seem happy, and they're having a baby boy in 7-10 weeks. They're in that final "must get it all done before the baby arrives!!!" phase around the house. Anyway, it was nice to catch up, and to hear tales of where we've all ended up. We've come a long way from our raggedy beginnings. Highlights included:

- Tim is doing less car racing and more pottery, including a gallery show
- Suzi and Arch Technologies won Small Business of the Year from the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce
- Thomas cut his hair and Zeus chops
- Fred bought a townhouse, has a good gig at eBay, is surviving his Master's program at CMU, and still has a steady girlfriend for 2+ years.

Looking back over it, it's amazing how long we've all been friends, and how well we're all doing in our own ways.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Reason 246 how...

How do you know when you live in a major metropolitan area? Well, in Richland where Frank and Janelle live, all kinds of traffic accidents and such make the news. Here, I was driving home from Gaskells and there was a formerly flaming semi blocking two lanes of traffic on 880, backing it up for about a mile, and there's not so much as a news article in even the Fremont Argus (local to the area where it occurred) saying anything about what happened. Maybe I'm just funny, but when I pass a molten tractor trailer, I want to know what went wrong.

Ah well. Life in the bay area. I really do like it here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Not-So-Dreaded Annual Pilgrimage

It's weird. Over the years, lots of folks have said to me that they don't want to use Kaiser for insurance because they'd hate to leave their doctor. I have the exact opposite problem. I like my doctors so much I'd hate to leave Kaiser. My general practioner is this hip, funky chic who always has the cutest glasses and who is quick with a witty joke and yet still makes me feel heard and never scoffs at my injuries. I found her about 2 years ago, and I really like her. But my OB/GYN is just the best. I've been seeing him for about six years now and he always remembers exactly where we left off last, which in this case was to ask about Rick and Valentine's Day because last year I saw him 2 days after that fiasco. Anyway, he added a new actress to the list of "Who Ammy Looks Like." In the past, it's been "That girl from Little House on the Prarie" (Melissa Gilbert). After that I've gotten "That girl from Single White Female" (Jennifer Jason Leigh). His addition was "The woman that played the girlfriend in the first season of Spin City" (Carla Gugino). The common theme? I always look similar to a girl with brown eyes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Galactica 1980

So I got home, and had some online research to do. So I looked at Tivo, and what Tivo Suggestions had picked up. I saw Galactica 1980. I'd heard it was bad before, but I figured it might be okay, and heck, why not give it a whirl when it won't have my full attention.

Oh my god the horror!!! So wrong! So wrong!

Gonna go wash my eyes out now. Oy.

Cold!

Alright, though certain friends from Connecticut will likely disagree, as far as I'm concerned, it's cold. Really really cold. I went out to the car this morning, and washed the ice off the windshield, then turned off the wipers and pulled down the driveway. Then as I turned back to my front window, it was all iced over again. I turned on the windshield wipers and they just danced across the ice without any of the new ice budging. So I pull over in front of the neighbor's house, where he is de-icing his windshield, and I pour another round of water on my windshield, and this time leave the wipers on til I get to Christyn's place. And I ask myself, "What am I doing outside when it's clearly freezing?"

So now I'm sitting at my desk with my little space heater humming away. Best Christmas Present Ever, or so says my toasty toes.

I'm not a morning person, but...

So having switched over to the 8-5 schedule to carpool with Christyn, I thought for certain that it would be hell. (I was previously working 9:30-6:30.) But the added benefit of having someone to talk to in the morning has thoroughly balanced out the early schedule. And though I was definitely wicked tired last Thursday, I slept better that night and managed to go on pure fun and very little sleep for the weekend until yesterday when I slept in, and then stayed out late at the Plough. This morning I woke up, and wished I could turn over and go back to sleep, but I didn't and after a nice drive to work whizzing past the rest of the traffic, I was actual ready for real troubleshooting by ten after eight. It's weird. There seems to be two key elements to this. One, I hate disappointing others, so I force myself out of bed on time so that I'm not late getting Christyn. Two, having conversations before sitting quietly in front of my computer makes me far more ready to sit in front of my computer and do real work right off the bat.

I'm really hoping Christyn's job works out, or she finds another one on campus that suits her better. I'm feeling like I've gained hours in the day, which is something I've always asked for for Christmas and never gotten before.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

And the Academy Award for Best Actress Goes To...

Arthur organizes Dundracon. Cyrus and Athena go every year. So do many other friends. I'm not a true gamer, so I figured I had no place there, but reading over the list of proposed games, I came across something that really struck my fancy: a Hamlet LARP.

So chatting this over, Erik mentioned that he was going to Dundracon and that might be fun. And heck, I'm an overlarge fan of Hamlet myself. For years, I thought it'd be fantastic to get a chance to play Ophelia. Now I'm thinking more of Gertrude. Both women have fantastic scenes with Hamlet, beautifully written and unlike most anything else written to be said by women in the theater for hundreds of years. Yeah, I love Shakespeare, but Hamlet is his masterpiece.

So there I was, staring at a weekend full of options, and coming up with the opportunity to try out Hamlet without a net (no script, no rehearsals, make up your own end). So off I go to San Ramon. The full import of it being a holiday weekend at the end of the snow season hadn't sunk in, so after 2 1/2 hours on the road, I finally made it just in time. However, it was clear the GM was not so lucky. By 8:20 we gave up. But earlier we'd run into Danielle in the hall, and she and T had a game planned that evening and were very concerned they'd be unable to fill it. So we wandered down for "Lights! Camera! Action!" And I got to play my very first LARP.

I was given the role of Angelina Ryder, an amalgam of Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. I was to be bi, poly, goth, and my dirty little secret was that I was secretly a satanist out to corrupt as many people as I could. I rushed upstairs to change out of my more Hamlet-intended wear and into my original outfit. I, um, just sort of was already wearing something when I arrived that suited the role. (Go figure!) Generous application of a little more make-up and the game was on.

The basic structure was to create a "movie trailer" for the first movie you were assigned to, and after that, the producers would bid on new movies, and try to hire actors and produce a trailer for that new movie. To woo their actors, they could give them fame (additional star power), money, or a percentage of the film. Then we would perform our second trailer. After a long negotiation where I led on 3 directors til the very last minute, I finally signed on to Cameron Schpielberg's new epic modern musical adaptation of The Ring Cycle of German opera fame. Really, he demanded a screen test where he asked if I could sing. It leapt out of my mouth before I could think, being in the moment, in character, I said, "Of course!" and I auditioned with songs from Buffy while being a Valkyrie by grabbing two cups off the table, chugging the remaining water in one, and fashioning them into a makeshift costume. I would play the washer woman who becomes an insane Valkyrie. Oh yes.

Now let me just state for the record that T and Danielle have the best sense of humor of anyone I know. T can always come up with the funniest thing to say at just the right moment every time. They put their heart and soul into this game and it rocked.

In the end, I'd achieved all of my goals, having broken up Jennifer Roberts and Bradley Dett, having gained extra points for my movies by being as crazy as possible, and having furthered my cause of corrupting young and old alike. Beyond that, I sang made up songs, I was strangled to death and dumped in the river, and finally got to use my gift for screaming on stage. After the second movie, we all voted for the Academy Awards, and though Bradley Dett got the award for best actor for his one-man portrayal of the Satyricon, The Ring Cycle took Best Picture and I took Best Actress.

I could go on, but suffice to say it was truly some of the most fun I've had staying up entirely too late in a long time. Overall, the acting ability of the people in that room was truly impressive. The girl playing Brittany Marriot, the hotel chain heiress, was perfection in her total vapidity. Erik's portrayal of Sean Stuart in StarQuest 12 included some fantastic space acting. Spike Luhrman's portrayal of the artiste auteur with was tense and edgy, but as soon as the game was done, he was the nicest guy. Similarly, Jennifer Roberts (America's Sweetheart!) was a total hag to me throughout the game, even when we found ourselves in the same film, but soon as it was over we introduced ourselves and thanked each other for great performances.

So that was it. I was hooked. I had such a great time that I wanted to come back the next night for the Serenity LARP that Chris was encouraging us all to sign up for. So I did. After driving to Sacramento during the day, I returned that evening for more, and was heartily rewarded. I got to play Sudha, a registered companion investigating another guild member operating outside of the rules, and in reality, I was playing Inara under cover. Another quick dash upstairs to try to create something worthy out of an unplanned suitcase and I spent the evening uncovering prostitution, bio-weapons, and murder in the town of Deadwood on the rim, all while wearing my tiara. Yeah, I admit, I've slipped deeper in the geek hierarchy, but I had a great time doing it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Pillow fight!

I love the bay area. It's a place where people are willing and allowed to be goofy.

The Linus Moment

A friend of mine, noted for being a great writer, sums up Valentine's Day in a way that uses our pop culture lingo in a way that Joss Whedon would be proud of.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

I'm not much for Valentine's Day. It's always been a "Hallmark Holiday" for me, which is to say, one overhyped for the sake of selling more cards and tchotchkes. I don't care about celebrating it or not when in a relationship, so long as the observance or breach of observance is discussed and a plan is agreed upon before the day. And looking back to before I was in a 7+ year long relationship, when I was single, I cared about it even less.

This led to a rather embarassing episode some ten years ago with a friend who thought we had a date planned and I'd forgotten it was anywhere near V-Day. I was just planning to go to the movies with a friend, but after a hard day at work, all I could muster was tacos and a video at home. Plus I had my Captain Oblivious hat squarely on my head. I genuinely had no clue that this person Liked Me liked me. It's a little hard to imagine that was ten years ago, but I still have the evidence - 51 pages worth. And it took years to get over, but that person and I are still friends, though I must admit we still see the world through slightly different lenses. (I blame my astigmatism personally. Makes everyone and everything look taller and fuzzier than they really are.) Ah well.

P.S. It's also hard to imagine that I graduated from college more than 10 years ago. Woof.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Johari

This was kind of an interesting meme. Odd, in that you only get to pick a few words that you'd apply to yourself, and I'd've picked more given the opportunity. Anyway, now it's up to you to decide what words you would apply to me and see how that overlaps with my own assessment.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bird Flu!!!!

I officially reached my limit this morning. Listening to NPR while racing around trying to get ready, I heard yet another panic-story about H5-M1. Every story is about "It only has to mutate a little and it'll kill us all!" and "We're not prepared!" Except that's just not true. It has to mutate in a way that makes it transferable from person to person and not just chicken to person AND it has to stay as deadly while undergoing that mutation. One or the other is easy, but getting the combo isn't so very easy. Yet everyone knows the name of the bloody virus, and no one is the least bit fretted about things that are a risk to them on a daily basis (e. coli from undercooked foods, car crashes from commuting, heart disease from too many french fries). Me, I'm just going to go on trying to ignore the stories, because I don't live with a chicken.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Yay!

Just having one of those good days.

Remembered to bring up a big issue about milestones at the checkpoint. Yay!

Finished off all of my pending tickets in my queue and all the new ones. Yay!

Got a call back from the Marine's Memorial Club and we have the Commandant's Ballroom for September 23rd. The Browncoat Ball dates are set, and there will be not one but two nights of dancing. Night one is at "Fanty & Mingo's" place. Okay, really, at the Empress of China. Saturday night will be at the hotel. I've got rooms blocked, and a place for the after party Saturday night. Add to that a tour of Chinatown and something on Saturday afternoon, and we're done with the planning. Now it's just details. It came together far too easily. Yay!

Went to get a haircut. The new haircut guy - Scott from Red's Salon in Campbell - totally rocks. He cuts just what you say. He's reasonably priced. He talked over my options with me and let me talk him into cutting more than he would've. And oh my hair looks just like I wanted it to. Yay!

Carpooling with Christyn tomorrow for her first day of work. Yay!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Best of Buffy

First let me just say how much Evite annoys me. I keep begging Kevin to get Google on to making G-Vite or some such, but no such luck yet. Turns out there were a lot of folks intended to be invited that were left off. I hate that.

But on the flip side, I'm not sure we could've accomodated many more. It's a small house and we ran out of places for butts. But there we were, me and a pile of friends, crowded around the glow of the projector, basking in Buffy. It was great. I had folks vote, so the final list isn't what I would've picked as the best of Buffy, but it was the Best of Buffy by silent committee. All of the input was made, and then I made the command decision on it in the end. The final menu of items was 11 episodes long, culminating in a sing-along of Once More, With Feeling. We started at 1:30 and ended at just midnight. There was Wheetabix and cheese slices and skeezy cheese for the eating, plus a turkey and mashed potatoes and salad and well, heck, more food than any twenty people should eat in a day, but we did it nonetheless.

After it was all said and done, I asked if anyone wanted a bonus episode, and a half dozen die-hards voted for Chosen, the final Buffy episode. I enjoy some shows on tv nowadays, but I really miss having a weekly dose (or two!) from the Whedonverse. The one thing that became clear was that even after watching a dozen episodes, there were still so many we hadn't gotten to see that we could all stand to watch a dozen more (though not in one sitting).

And another thing - there definitely has to be another home-brew sing-along night. That was too much fun. Not sure what should come next, but I'm thinking that a Rocky Horror Picture Show Veterans Night might be fun. I've still got my Columbia bustier somewhere in the costume trunk...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Skeezy Cheeses

There's different ways to measure a neighborhood. One that just occurred to me was that I don't live in a neighborhood where it's easy to find skeezy cheeses. This is a highly telling tidbit about what sort of place it is. I just got done having a conversation where I asked a friend to bring skeezy cheese from his neighborhood and that I'd be able to buy plenty of Kraft Singles where I live.

Ah well, my neighborhood is interesting in it's own ways, but I do miss the Milk Pail. There are few things as lovely as fresh produce, yummy sausages, and a good gruyere in a crepe for breakfast. I mean, they've got six or seven varieties of gruyere! It's like heaven!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Super Bowl

It's funny - I'm so not a football person that I don't even know what time the Super Bowl happens. I didn't realize what day it was until last weekend. I always thought it was at the end of January for some reason. I've got another thing going on that day which involves driving to the city so I wanted to do it during the Super Bowl (and not immediately before or after) so that I miss the massive traffic. But I had to actually do some serious searching to figure out what time it comes on. Go figure. Oh, and the correct answer is 3pm Pacific. This means I should definitely put off driving up until later than the original plan of 1pm.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Brezny Fun

Ah yes, sometimes Brezny is eloquent and on target. This week's said:
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Fashion designer Rick Owens toiled in relative obscurity for years while perfecting his "glunge" look, which mixes glamour with grunge. Now he has his own acclaimed clothing line in Paris. Recently an interviewer asked him, "What is the most important lesson you've learned?" His reply: "We're all freaks." I'd like you to take that idea to heart, Gemini. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you'll benefit from fully acknowledging how odd, idiosyncratic, irregular, and mysterious you really are--and learning to love that fact. This week's second assignment is also spurred by Owens. "What's your definition of beauty?" he was asked. "With fitness, grooming and an open heart," he said, "absolutely anyone can be wildly attractive." Work on that, too. Revel in your wildly attractive freakiness.

This goes in line with the guy at the Tempest show who actually asked me for my phone number in that "Hey maybe I could call you for a date sometime" sort of way. He also complemented me on my hair, my dancing, and my eyebrows (stating they looked professionally groomed to which I scoffed and said, "I'm not that high maintenance!"). Go figure. For the record, to my knowledge (which could be understandably sketchy as I have long been known as Captain Oblivious when it comes to these things), I've never been asked for my phone number at a bar before. It was a new and somewhat exhilarating experience. So yes, I've always had a fairly open heart, and over the years I've gotten more skill in the grooming and fashion department, and I'm always fighting the fitness demon, so yeah, I'm reveling in my attractive freakiness. Woohoo!