Friday, June 30, 2000

30 June 2000

I woke up this morning to turn over. Not at all unusual; I do it at least three or four times a night. Sometimes I open my eyes briefly and look at the clock, sometimes I don't bother. This morning, I didn't bother. I thought to myself, Hmm... I hope I've got time before the alarm clock goes off to-

Breep! Breep! Breep! Breep! Breep!


I don't even remember what it was I wanted to do before the alarm went off.

Here's something that doesn't happen often: I was the one who wanted to go to the movie, and Matt was the one who wanted to stay home.

K.T. asked if we'd like to meet her and Kevin to go see Chicken Run, which looks like a very silly, fun movie. Both Matt and I want to see it, so I told her probably yes, but needed to wait until Matt got home and check with him to be sure. I didn't think it would be a problem - usually I'm the one who's picky about movies and doesn't want to see things. K.T. and I decided we could eat dinner before the movie at the Chinese place in the same shopping center - I'd developed a craving for fried rice about half an hour earlier - and worked out the movie times and figured we'd all be home before ten.

Matt came home, and I told him the suggestion.

Alas, between a moderately crappy day at work and a mild cold that had him sneezing all day and flat-out exhausted, Matt was not in the mood to go anywhere. He suggested that I could go without him, but I knew if I did that, then he'd never see the movie. I don't think it's going to be such a great movie that I'll want to see it twice, and Matt and I almost never rent movies, no matter how much we say we will.

So I relayed the bad news to K.T. I hope she wasn't too upset with us.

So K.T. was sufficiently impressed by the story bit I wrote yesterday for the Word of the Day that I'm thinking of turning it into a complete story, with a plot and everything. I spent a few minutes yesterday brainstorming ideas. I threw one of them at Braz, who told me it sounded like William Gibson's Neuromancer.

I've read most everything else Gibson's written, but not the one book he's best well-known for. Weird, huh? Now I'm trying to decide if I should read it before I write the story, so I know what kinds of things to avoid (I don't want to come off looking like a complete plagarist), or if reading it in advance will just influence me too much.

I know. It's a hard life I lead.

Word of the Day: maudlin - drunk enough to be emotionally silly; weakly and effusively sentimental

Oh, I get maudlin pretty frequently, and not always when I'm drinking. I've been known to weep when I consider my friends, cling desperately to my husband, and cry hysterically at the mere thought of losing my cat. I've even used the word "maudlin" to describe my mood on occasion.

But usually I just call it P.M.S. and leave it at that.

Thursday, June 29, 2000

29 June 2000

Ack. Three of my fingernails have torn, and two more have split. (Yes, I mean torn, not chipped or broke. I have very soft fingernails, and they have only two behaviors: they tear off, or they split lengthwise.) And I don't have clippers here at work, so I'm going to have to use the scissors on my swiss-army knife left-handed. Joy.

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is one of those days. I'm not grumpy - quite the contrary; I'm in a fairly good mood - but it's dark and raining outside, I'm sleepy, I'm sniffly, I want to go back to bed, and I can't think of anything worth talking about.

I'm feeling pretty good about work, at least. I'm on a new project that is in essense an extention of the old project, but if it goes through, the four of us who are working on it will have given our office its first major non-government contract, and its biggest single contract ever. Four of us. Heh. It makes me a little nervous, but if we can pull it off, it will do wonders for my career, both in terms of salary and options.

I can't actually talk too much about the project here, since some of my readers are competitors to this company, but one thing I'm pleased about is that my manager noticed how well the Two Mikes and I work together, and decided not to screw with it: Scary Mike will be doing the network stuff, Random Mike will be doing all the hardware interfaces and underlying dlls, the manager will be doing all the really freaky stuff like cryptography, and I'll be pulling it all together into an interface. And, it looks like for this project, I'll be handling the databases, since I'm the only one with any database experience in this team.

I'm actually kindof excited about it. Of course, you'll want to ask me again in September, when the first phase is scheduled to be finished, and yet again in December or January when the whole thing is supposed to be done. If I'm capable of coherence between last-minute panic and the lack of sleep, my whole opinion may well have changed a bit by then.

Damn, I'm sleepy. I can't figure out if it's the allergy attack (darnit, my Claritin isn't working!), the rainy weather, or the fact that I spent half the night sloshing through surreal dreams that faded the instant I awoke.

Maybe it's because I spent half of yesterday with Barenaked Ladies songs bouncing around in my head. The whole morning my brain was insisting that "Enid, we never really knew each other anyway," and the whole evening after I got home from work, I kept mentally humming, "This is me in grade nine, baby." Naturally, I could only remember the choruses, not the verses, so they played on continuous loop until I was ready to kill.

So today I brought the CD to work with me. Hopefully that'll stave off any further mental bombardments.

Word of the Day: dovecote - a small compartmented raised house for domestic pigeons; a settled or harmonious group or organization

Every morning after the war, Joshua went up to the roof to check on the dovecote. It wasn't that he felt responsible for them or anything, but that the chore gave him some slight excuse to get away from the pounding resentment that coursed in waves through the living spaces below.

He especially appreciated it when they needed some care - when the whitewash on the box was peeling, or the occupants required some attention more than simple feeding. After the war, idle hands were simply inexcusable. Even sleep was put to work, excess heat stored to incubate the more-than-ever precious babies, and every minute that Joshua spent caring for the 'cote was a minute he didn't have to be down in the living spaces in the noisy, cold dark.

This morning Joshua opened the front of the box and frowned. They had been fighting again. More and more, since the war, they fought during the night. Mama Sichel had scoffed and insisted that you couldn't tell what they did when the doors were closed. They were only screens and wires and buttons, she'd told Joshua as they'd mixed up the day's rations, and brains floating in vats of amniotic fluid. All you could do, she had said, stirring the pot with unnecessary vigor, was follow the instructions they gave. That, she snapped, actually stopping for a few seconds to glare at him, was what the dovecotes did.

Joshua knew better than to argue with Mama Sichel when she was in one of her moods. But he whispered his theories to the screens as he cared for them, pushing the buttons that fed nutrients into the vats and carefully wiping their screens. Maybe decision-making was what they did, he told them in a fair imitation of Mama Sichel's thick accents, but no-one knew for certain how they arrived at those decisions. Maybe, he told them, looking seriously into the camera lens on top of the 'cote, they argued about it until they reached a consensus.

Maybe, he muttered, they hadn't intended the war to happen at all, and that was why they fought so much, now.

Joshua had been talking to the dovecote ever since the war. Never before had it answered.

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

28 June 2000

When we were in high school together, Mila and I were best friends.

I'm not sure how it happened - I started out as a girlie-girl, interested in clothes and boys and makeup, too shy to be part of the in-crowd, but by no means part of the outcasts, either. I don't remember meeting Mila for the first time, or what I thought of her before we became friends. My early memories of her are actually sortof sketchy - she wore a lot of black and was into heavy metal; she was constantly reading; she had beautiful long hair, green eyes, and an almost distressingly clear complexion given we were at "that age."

She introduced me to science fiction and fantasy, really. I'd read a little before, but Mila would present me with a bag of fifteen or twenty book about once every two weeks. I got sucked in, and sucked in hard. The two of us spent most of high school with our noses buried in books. Her entire family read that genre of books, so her house was filled with them. I read my way through most of their living room shelves over the space of three or four years.

We didn't agree on everything - I never did quite figure out how she could enjoy heavy metal, for instance - but that was all right. Our friendship transcended petty matters like preferences and opinions. I think I spent more time at Mila's house than my own. I called her mom "Mommy" and for a while even had my own key. I have a sortof spooky story about how I knew something was very wrong a whole day before she told me her father had died. I had a crush on her brother that I never admitted to (everyone had a crush on Mila's brother - it drove her crazy even though they got along better than any brother and sister I'd ever met). I still, ten years later, remember the phone number at her mom's house, even though I still have to look K.T.'s number up every time I call her.

We were more or less out of touch while we were in college. We called during breaks, but our schedules had become so hectic that we didn't get to see each other very often. I managed to track her down - thanks to a chance meeting of Mommy in a bookstore - to invite her to my wedding, and if we'd gone with traditional attendants, I'd probably have asked her to be one of my bridesmaids. It turned out that she had e-mail, so we spent a year or so dropping each other occasional notes. (It's a little odd that we're such bad correspondants when you consider that somewhere I have an entire notebook filled with notes we wrote each other during Latin and History classes.)

She called me a few weeks ago out of the blue and we talked for an hour. She's just finished graduate school and is looking for work. I invited her to come to K.T.'s cookout, and she did show up for an hour or so, but went home early with a headache.

She came over last night, instead, to see our house, get caught up with me, pet my cat, and give me advice on the yard.

Mila has two real passions, now: her cats, and gardening. Aside from general news about our families, we talked about little else. She gave me some advice on how to get grass to grow in our yard and some things to plant and where to put some planting beds and what plants met my requirements of being attractive and low-maintenance.

She's always been about two steps ahead of me in interests and hobbies. She introduced me to a lot of things that I didn't really appreciate until years later. Several times, I've told her about a new hobby only to find out that she'd picked it up years earlier and eventually dropped it.

It makes me wonder if gardening is going to be my next big passion, or if it'll be one of the things I just shrug and nod about.

And as long as I'm talking about passion - one of the things about our friendship that I appreciate is that it's not passionate. We don't squeal with delight when we see each other after a long break, or jabber excitedly about the "good old days." In fact, even though we don't see each other very often anymore, we fall right back into our old patterns. I got the distinct impression last night that we might've very easily wound up sitting on opposite ends of the couch, our feet in each others' laps, reading and petting the cat.

Friendships like this don't happen every day, or even every lifetime. Sometimes, you have to stop and count your blessings.

Word of the Day: malinger - to pretend incapacity (such as illness) to avoid work or duty

The worst part of having plantar fascitis is that it's not visible. No one else can look at me and think, "Wow, I bet that hurts!" So when I'm out and about with other people, I'm always a little hesitant to insist on slowing down because of my feet. Never mind that it feels like there's a sharp, red-hot pebble caught in my shoe; I look perfectly fine, and so I feel like a malingerer when I slow down to a snail's pace, exaggerating my limp a little so they'll remember.

Is that dumb, or what?

Tuesday, June 27, 2000

27 June 2000

A sample of conversation as Matt and I were going to bed last night:

"I have it on very good authority that boys think about sex all the time!"

"Well, not all the time. Otherwise driving would be pretty hazardous."

"ALL the time!"

"Wow. Think of the distraction the new Beetle would present! 'Look! A breast!'"

About 2 this morning, I woke up thinking I'd heard the cat yeowling. I listened for a few minutes, heard nothing, and decided it was a dream. I adjusted my pillow and went back to sleep.

About fifteen minutes later...


It sounded like an ambulance in a blender. Matt sat straight up. I did, too, and since I'd been lying on my stomach and side, I strained my back doing it. We went out into the hallway, looking for the cat.


"Downstairs," I said, and led the way.

The cat was on the windowsill in the living room, staring out into the night with hatred, fury, and murder on his tiny little mind. Matt and I lifted convenient pieces of the blinds and looked out.



Matt turned on the porch light.


I looked down at the cat. His tail was puffed up like a pom-pom. It had to be another cat - it's the only thing that could've gotten him so angry. That was his yard, even if he never got to go out in it, and he was going to defend it to the death!

I picked him up and petted him and soothed him until his tail was almost normal again. Matt tried to take him up to bed with us, but he ran back downstairs. I could hear his tail smacking into the blinds as he lashed it furiously, but at least this time he left the sirens off.

Half an hour later, of course, he was ready to come up and be snuggly and fuzzy and to pester me until I put him in the garage. As if nothing had happened. Sigh.

Word of the Day: clepe - to name or call. (archaic; past participle yclept still in use.)

I know a lot of people who name their cars. My car has a name, but it's sortof a leftover. My first car was a '79 Plymouth Volare, a clunky white car that came with a radio that was worth more than the rest of the car altogether. The license plate assigned me at the DMV started "BOV" and a friend suggested that this was short for "bovine". The car immediately was yclept "The Cow-Car" and various other friends occasionally threatened to sneak up in the middle of the night and paint Holstein spots on it. (To tell the truth, I probably wouldn't have minded. It would've given it some character other than "Needs a new water pump every two years.")

When I got the new car (well, it was new then) I kept the same plates, and so it, too, by default became the Cow-Car. It didn't work so well for this car, of course, because this car is less clunky and bright electric blue. (It might've been better if I'd gone with the purple car. Then I could've at least mentally recited the Purple Cow poem.)

Monday, June 26, 2000

26 June 2000

Oh, what a great weekend! Karen and Kris and I went to Target after lunch on Friday to pick up water guns and found ourselves sidetracked by the hats. I wound up buying two hats. I was going to put one of them back - I hardly ever wear hats! - but I was informed in no uncertain terms that it was too cute to pass up.

Friday evening we met Matt and Braz and Jeremy for dinner at the Outback. Yum yum yum! I love eating there. It was Karen's first trip, so of course we had to run the full gamut of the Outback experience, from appetizers to dessert. It just wouldn't have been fair otherwise, would it?

Liz about to wreak vengeance...Guys dig chicks with big guns, right?Saturday was K.T.'s cookout. I have to say, I'm sortof glad that a lot of people decided not to come. I think the numbers were just about perfect - there were still a lot of people there, and another four or five people and the place would've been too crowded. We ate hamburgers and hot dogs and had a fantastic water gun fight. (Pictures from the party - mostly from the water gun fight - are in the album.)

The water-gun fight wore us out a lot, though. Braz and Kris left around six-thirty or so, and Matt and I left about an hour later, after making sure someone would give Karen a ride later. The four of us went to Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream, but spent most of the evening sitting around the house in an exhausted stupor. The party was worth it, though!

Sunday morning we were all just getting up and going when K.T. called to see if we wanted to meet them to see Titan A.E., which most of us were in fact interested in seeing. We arranged to meet them at the theater, and I panicked at everyone about the timeframe until we were on the road. Getting our snacks made us miss the opening previews, but since they were all for kiddie films, I wasn't too disappointed.

After the movie, we walked across the parking lot to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch. Or maybe dinner. A lot of food, at any rate. I've avoided Ruby Tuesday's for the past year or so - for a while there it seemed like every time I went into one I came out with an upset stomach. But I was fine this time; maybe it's just the Ruby Tuesday's in Williamsburg.

I'm taking this morning off from work - Karen's leaving this morning, and I'll probably head into work after she leaves. I was going to go back to bed after I'd moved my car to let Matt out this morning, but the extremely weird dreams I'd been having all morning while he was getting ready for work made me decide to just get up instead. And as long as I was up, I might as well write a journal entry, right?

Word of the Day: doggerel - loosely styled and irregular in measure especially for burlesque or comic effect; marked by triviality or inferiority (usually applied to verse or poetry)

There was a young lady named Rose
Who was tired of writing in prose.
But her doggerel verse
Is so very much worse
That straight into the trashcan it goes!

Friday, June 23, 2000

23 June 2000

Well, Karen showed up a little before six yesterday evening, and Braz and Kris arrived around 10, and so no one reading this is surprised to discover that I didn't go to bed until after midnight. So I'm a little tired this morning, but reasonably happy.

Carrie and Kathy are going to be staying with us, too, apparently - they'll arrive late tonight with their sleeping bags, and then there will be seven - seven! - people in our little house. (At least, it will probably seem very little with seven of us crammed in there.)

The plan for today is, I'm going to leave work around 11:45 and head home to pick up Karen, Braz, and Kris. We'll meet Matt at one of the local delis for lunch, and then Matt will go back to work, Braz will go back to the house, and I will take Kris and Karen shopping. I need to stop at Target for a watergun or three, and at Sam's Club for hamburger and hotdog buns for the cookout tomorrow. And if we can't manage to waste the entire afternoon at those two places, then the mall is only down the street from Sam's Club a bit!

The evening's plans are a little more nebulous. Jeremy had expressed a desire to get together with us for dinner, but we're not sure where, yet. I gave that job to Matt, and told him he and Jeremy and Braz could work that out and let us girls know when we got back from shopping. (Ah, it's good to be able to hand off these decisions.) After that, we're not sure. We need to be sure to be back at the house no later than 10 to let Carrie and Kathy in. Hmm; a trip to Ben and Jerry's might round out the evening nicely...

Just as a side note, I have to say I think my chair at work is broken. Given how short I am, I like it set relatively high, to keep my arms at a decent position. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the few actual physical dangers of being a computer programmer, and it scares the heck out of me. Anyway, while I was typing that previous paragraph, I noticed my arms were at a weird angle, so I checked the height of the chair's armrests against my desk for comparison... Yep; it had dropped again.

I'd blame it on the cleaning staff, but they're not in on Thursday nights, and I didn't notice anything yesterday.

Anyway, tomorrow should be buckets of fun. The radio is predicting sunny weather with highs around 90 for the whole weekend, which makes it a little on the warm side but otherwise perfect weather for a cookout. And since we're all bringing our enormous water-guns to the cookout, I'm sure we'll figure out a way to cope with the heat. ;-)

I recharged my camera's battery yesterday, so I'm sure I'll be running around taking pictures like mad. Especially of faces. The only person so far to give me any negative feedback at all about the eyes page is K.T., who was complaining about her picture more than the concept itself. (To be fair, her picture does suck, and I want to take it over again in better light.) Everyone else has been very complimentary about the concept.

Don't worry, I'll take some regular pictures, too! And K.T. and Kevin recently bought an extension card for their digital camera, so it can now hold something obnoxious like five hundred pictures at once. So you picture hounds will get yours, never fear!

It should be a great weekend. Can't wait. I probably won't get an overabundance of sleep, though...

I just want to wonder right now why it is that I'm getting really lousy service in restaurants lately? Don Pablo's was disappointing last week, and the guy at T.G.I. Friday's wasn't all that good, and our waitress last night at Second St. was pretty crummy - she didn't bring our drinks until we were almost done with our appetizer, and almost forgot to take our orders for our entrees! Is it the season? It's summer, so all the summer-only staff is still being trained? Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I look like the kind of jolly fat woman who'll still tip well even if the service sucks. I'm starting to get annoyed!

Word of the Day: bamboozle - to deceive by underhanded methods; dupe; hoodwink

Now there's a word that should see more use! What a great word! It even sounds sortof shady, in a silly kind of way. It's got that sortof campy feel to it, like an overblown character in a not-altogether-serious 1940's gangster movie.

"Boss! Look behind you!"

"Now see here, Blue Bart, you've bamboozled me for the last time!"

"But, Boss, you've gotta believe me!"


"Nice shooting, Angel."


"That's right, Angel, it's me. And this time I've caught you red-handed!"

Thursday, June 22, 2000

22 June 2000

Okay, so no one ever actually uses the forum anymore, so I'm going to chuck it. If you have any objections, then for petesake use the damn thing.

Right. So I actually have some work to do at work today - a week and a half after I'd gone as far as I could, I finally got some new specs to work with.

So I didn't bring any of the books I've been reading and studying to work with me today. I have no illusions that this will actually induce me to actually do the work, but it might get me a little closer.

I know; this is kindof scatterbrained. I swear, if I didn't know better I'd think I was PMS'ing. I've been touchy and irritable and easily upset for several days now. My self-esteem is through the floor, and thinking about how great I felt last week only makes it worse. I'm taking things personally that I probably shouldn't (like K.T.'s negative attitude or the dearth of mail in my Inbox) and overreacting to the things that were directed to me.

Matt spent yesterday evening hovering worriedly because he could tell I was brooding. How do I explain that I know something's not all that important but that I'm going to brood about it anyway without sounding like a complete moron? No, I didn't think you could, either.

Damn it all, I want to be a reasonably well-adjusted human being.

To make matters worse, Karen is going to show up this evening around 5:30 or 6, and Braz and Kris will arrive somewhen around 9 or 10, and I'll want to laugh and joke and smile and have a good time with my friends. Maybe I'll spend today working on an attitude adjustment.

Sorry if this was a downer of an entry. I just suck today.

Word of the Day: abeyance - temporary inactivity; suspension

Does it ever seem to you that life is paused? I was in high school; I was in college; and now life is in abeyance until I decide what it is I want to be when I grow up. Five years almost I've been a programmer, and the longer I do it, the more I know I don't want to be doing this for the rest of my life. But where do I want to go? Do I want to take the track a lot of programmers take and move into management? I was a task lead once at 3GI, but apparently I sucked at it because they never let me be in charge of anything again after that. (Without, of course, telling me why I sucked so I could try to improve. I hate that.)

I love the idea of teaching, but the pay is so awful, and the politics are worse. Sometimes I think I'd enjoy teaching corporate seminars, but I have no idea how to break into that line of work. This area isn't exactly ideal for that kind of thing anyway.

I envy the people I work with sometimes. They love what they do. They're getting paid to do what they love most. That's wonderful. Me? It's just a job. It pays the bills and provides extra money for luxuries. If I won the lottery, I'd quit in a heartbeat. I can't think of a way to pay the bills doing the things I love to do. Too bad for me, huh?

[11:45 am] I love you guys, I really do. I post this kindof whiney, pathetic entry, and I get mail from people asking me to cheer up pretty please and giving me virtual teddy bears to hug (Jeff is so cool!) and everything.

So the upshot of it is that I'm feeling loved and happy and ready to have a really good weekend. Bonus points for a good weekend go to Random, who doesn't even read this journal unless I don't feel like telling a story twice and just point him to a page. He came in this morning with the announcement that he's traded in his truck for a Mazda Miata convertible, and he promised me a ride. Whoo-hoo!

I just wanted to let you all know I was feeling happier now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2000

21 June 2000

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. I'd been having a nice dream about snuggling with my sweetie, and then I woke up and there he was, ready to be snuggled, and I just didn't want to get up. But alas, such is life. I got up, made lunches, showered, got dressed, and did all the little morning things.

Told the cat to behave himself while we were gone, kissed Matt goodbye on the front steps, put my purse and lunch in the backseat, and got into the car. As I settled into the seat, I felt a light strand of something on my hand.

Something you should know about me, if you don't already: I'm not actually an arachniphobe, but it's darn close. One of the irritating things about having long hair is that hairs don't just fall out and drift away on the breeze. They get caught on your clothes and wrapped around your arm. I used to panic when I felt hair on my hand or arm, because it feels very like a spiderweb strand, which would mean there was a spider nearby.

Of course, after years of being afraid of spiders and having long hair, one learns to check before flailing around like an idiot, because 99.9% of the time it's just a hair. I looked at my hand, ready to isolate and remove the offending loose strand.

Of course you can see it coming. I wouldn't be telling you this story if it were just a hair, would I? I get hairs on my arm five or six times a day; I don't fire up my browser and shoot off a letter to the notify list!

There was a long strand of web from the ornament on my rear-view mirror stretching down to my gearshift. I froze. Spiderwebs in and of themselves don't bother me except that the well-kept ones mean there's a spider nearby, and the abandoned ones look gross.

I definitely didn't have a spiderweb running from my rear-view mirror to my gearshift yesterday when I got out of the car. That meant that it had been built during the night.

The question now, was, of course: Where was its architect?

I looked at the web. It wasn't very big, and so I had hope that the spider, also, was small. I looked at my hand, my arm... Nothing crawling, though by this time every bit of my body that I couldn't see felt like it was crawling. I looked back at the web. Still no spider.

Maybe, I thought without much hope, it moved on already. Actually, the logical corner of my mind was groaning. If I didn't find that spider, I'd be jittery and nervous and watching for it instead of the road for the whole drive to work, and probably home again.

I reached into the back seat to get the towel I keep for wiping condensation off windows and covering the steering wheel when it's hot. I would clean away the web, and then worry about the spider. But as I turned back around, I saw it.

Now, certain people who will go unnamed are probably expecting me to tell you about the monster the size of my hand that breathed fire and made me swear to sacrifice my first-born child to it. Or something like that.

No, not Matt. Matt knows better. If I'd seen a spider any bigger than my thumbnail (or a black fuzzy one at all) I'd have teleported out of the car and come to make him deal with it. (He hadn't left yet, because my car was blocking his into the driveway.) And until he reads this journal entry, he doesn't know I dealt with a spider this morning.

I didn't even get a good look at it. It was a little brown dot on the panel under the hand brake. Intuitively I knew it was the spider, and I squashed it with the towel. It squished, and I cleaned up the little bit of goo with the towel, and then cleaned the web off my pewter dragons and my gearshift. Then I tossed the towel back into the back seat and got on with my day.

Aren't you proud of me?

(Oh, sweetie, would you remind me to wash the towel this weekend? Spiderbits give me the heebie jeebies.)

Word of the Day: concatenate - to link together in a series or chain

After a week-long dry spell, I started working on the Meade Hall story again last night. Braz hasn't answered any of my mail for about two weeks (yeah, I know, big surprise). I think, now that the excitement of it has worn off, he's losing interest (or at least initiative) in writing, and his lack of response generated one in me. But it started talking to me again yesterday (or maybe that was the caffeine overdose from six cups of iced tea) and I started working again.

The problem is, of course, that I don't actually know if Braz is going to drop out of writing this thing or not. I didn't want to make changes to our "uber-document", so I took about an hour and concatenated the three different outlines we'd put together and pasted in some notes, and started working from there. I did send the two pages of new material I wrote to Braz, since they were from the points of view of a couple of his characters, but I've decided in this second document, I'm not going to let waiting for his approval hold me back. If he ever gets around to reading it, we can copy it into the official version, but in the meantime, I still have the writing bug.

Tuesday, June 20, 2000

20 June 2000

Ack. I'm very sleepy today. From the time the cat woke me up at 4:30 or 5 until I finally gave up smacking the snooze button and crawled out of bed at 6:15, I kept having dreams of being abandoned. Matt left me, my friends left me, my cat left me... Luckily, I didn't wake up even once thinking the dream had been real, but it confused me to no end.

I mean, I haven't been abandoned by anyone, as far as I know. (Oh, sure, a have a couple of friends who are pretty slack about answering their e-mail, but I'm not always the world's greatest correspondant myself, and anyway I chat with them on a semi-regular basis, so I know they haven't abandoned me. They just haven't written.) I haven't lost anything. I don't think I'm abandoning anyone else.

My dad was telling me yesterday about a dream he'd had in which he was lost in a large, confusing city with a blank map. He interpreted it to be his confusion over the letter he'd gotten recently explaining that he owed more in taxes than he thought. But I couldn't figure out what these abandonment dreams were trying to tell me. Any ideas?

I'm working on a new project for this page, sortof. Because the journal is called Reflections in the Dragon's Eye, I thought I'd re-do the page on which I describe people. Here is the current page, and here is what I have in mind for the new page. Obviously, I'll need to take some more pictures if I go that route, but before I make it official, I'd really like to know what you think - or if you even care.

Matt got his Hammacher Schlemmer catalog yesterday! For those of you poor souls who haven't seen this before, Hammacher Schlemmer offers only the very finest in gadgets and toys for people with more money than sense. Last year's featured item was an honest-to-god submarine, sized to fit one or two people.

Boatless waterskiing!This year's feature is, in essense, a remote-control boat so you can go waterskiing without needing to bother with the hassle of taking turns with other people. "It is nearly 8 feet in length and is operated solely by the skier, using a push-button panel built into the towline handle (included)." This amazing little device can be yours for only $9,999.95! (Plus $550 S&H. May not be legal for use in some states.)

Also on the first page are featured a calorie-counting hula hoop ($70) and a motorized skateboard ($900). On the second page are an authentic British telephone box converted into both a shower and a telephone stand ($9,000); a CD recorder and player ($600), and my personal favorite: The World's Smallest PDA Computer Watch ($300). (It looks like a techie's wet dream - it's even really programmable - but I don't see a way to type!)

Robotic lawnmowerOther items of interest: A battery-powered chainsaw; a remote-controlled air conditioner; a light for your sock drawer (so you can get dressed without waking up your partner); a drag chute for runners; the insect vacuum (a leftover from last year, but I can't get over it); electric body-hair tweezers (with gold-plated tweezer disks!); and a robotic lawnmower (pictured here). Oh, and for those of you who've been craving them ever since I went through this catalog last year, they do still carry the bulletproof tableware.

Word of the Day: polyglot - speaking, writing, or containing several languages; widely diverse in ethnic/cultural origins

I always wanted to be polyglot. When I was a kid, I'd babble nonsense and pretend it was a foreign language. (I'm not talking about anything as elaborate as actually making up a language. I'd just let a random stream of syllables flow from my mouth and think whatever I wanted to say. Since I was playing by myself, the invisible people I was talking to always understood me, or didn't, depending on what I wanted them to do.)

Then I got to school and discovered that learning new languages was actually work. Much harder than, say, math, or science. I chickened out and took Latin for my high school requirement. Latin, you see, didn't require that I learn how to speak it. I did pretty well the first year, not badly the second, only mediocre the third year, and then I decided to quit while I was ahead.

I do wish I'd hung on for that fourth year, though, because then I got to William and Mary and found out that a fourth year of Latin would have absolved me of their foreign language requirement. Well, I didn't want to take any more Latin, and I was dating a German at the time, so I took German. I discovered then that it's actually easier to learn a language if you're speaking it on something like a regular basis. Björn and I broke up before the end of my first semester, but I enjoyed German. Unlike the French I'd been briefly exposed to in elementary school, the rules for spelling and pronunciation made sense.

Of course, I've pretty well forgotten it all, now. I can barely remember enough German to ask for a beer ("Bier?") and I don't even like beer! And to think, toward the end of my third semester of German, I translated that Christmas classic, "I Want A Hippopotomus For Christmas" into German. Sortof.

Monday, June 19, 2000

19 June 2000

 Sorry I didn't post on Friday. My computer at work had its hard drive re-formatted and getting it back the way I wanted it took pretty much the whole day. It's still not back, really.

Well, nothing went quite as I'd expected this weekend. It wasn't a bad weekend. Just not quite what I'd planned.

Friday evening, just as Matt and I had decided to have dinner at Second Street, K.T. called and asked if we'd be willing to come down to Newport News to give her and Kevin a ride to their car, which was in the shop. I didn't want to drive all the way down there just to turn around and come home, so we made plans to go with them to Don Pablo's for dinner.

Matt and I got stuck in crawling traffic on the way to K.T.'s. If I'd thought about it at all, I wouldn't have taken the interstate. I hate being stuck in traffic (especially when Matt's got the leg-bounces - it shakes the whole car and I hate being shaken and jiggled unless its under my own power) so by the time we got there I was in a foul mood. I did invent a couple of new insults while I was at it, though, so maybe that's a plus.

I usually like eating at Don Pablo's. The food is good, the place is fun, and the wait staff are usually pretty good. Well. They've been making some changes. My chicken parilla came on a plate instead of a skillet, and the marinade was making the bottom of the chicken soggy. The refried beans were too spicy for me. And our waitress was horrible. I won't even go into all the ways she and the kitchen screwed up. It was astonishing. One more visit like that and I'm going to have to take them off my list.

Saturday was my game. Now that it's over, I'd like to explain some stuff.

The party is in possession of a ring. It's extremely dangerous, if not downright evil, and they're supposed to be taking it to the university of mages so it can be properly destroyed. Naturally, there's a group of bad guys who want the ring. So I've been putting little distractions in the party's way so that the bad guys chasing them don't get too far behind. Standard tactic.

So I had them run into this village with a missing little girl, and along with all the other stuff wrapped up in there, the little girl turns out to have discovered a cave in the nearby woods where she goes when she wants to be alone. The party took a look at the cave, and in order to give it some flavor, I decided it was part of an underground ruin - an old dwarven mining settlement, abandoned thousands of years ago when the mines dried up, and more or less sealed shut by the natural growth of the caves.

I should've known better. The party decided that the place had been deliberately sealed shut or else maybe abandoned for some important reason, and decided that to protect the villagers, they needed to explore. So I had to throw together a map for an adventure I hadn't been planning on.

Well, okay, that wasn't too hard. I put together a small chart of random monsters, and since they've been whining about their lack of magic items, I threw in a giant spider with a couple of things in its lair. They wondered how the spider had gotten into the room in the first place. Ack.

Then I had a nifty idea. They were taking time off from their mission to explore these ruins. They didn't have a deadline for the mission, so that was okay. But I wanted them to understand that every decision has consequences. The bad guys who had been chasing them caught up, and terrorized and tortured villagers until the little girl agreed to show them where the caves were.

About this time, Kevin's work schedule shifted around and he decided to join the game. Well, heck, how was I going to work him in? He couldn't be in the ruins already, because they were sealed shut. He made things easier by deciding to be from the tribe of people who'd sent the party to destroy the ring. I had their shaman give him the mission of finding them and helping them, and decided he'd catch up just as the bad guys did - because the bad guys were pretty powerful, and I figured the party would welcome some timely backup.

That all went pretty well, and everyone seemed to enjoy that game. But over the next week or so, Kevin convinced K.T. that it was very important that they stop playing around in the ruins and get back to their mission. K.T. agonized over it for a few days, then came up with a solution. But Matt and Mike still wanted to finish exploring these ruins.

So going into Saturday's game, I was assuming there would be half an hour or so of argument between the two groups, and I was prepared - more or less - to handle either outcome. The argument took less than a minute. I guess Kevin wasn't feeling very argumentative. They decided to stay.

Now, my plan was to whip them through the rest of the ruins - there wasn't much more to see anyway - and move them on to the ring-destruction. (I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that there will be some glitches - and some consequences - to having the ring destroyed.)

But they didn't whip through the ruins as fast as I thought, even though I skipped the random monster tables altogether. And when they finished, Matt suggested wrapping up for the night.

No monsters had been killed. No evil-doers vanquished. No innocents rescued. A little treasure found, but that's about it. I was dissatisfied. I'm pretty sure they were dissatisfied.

Of course, Matt and I are going to be out of town a lot in the next few weeks, so the next two sessions of my game are going to be cancelled. Hopefully that will give me the time to put together something more satisfying for the climax of the ring thread. And after that... Well, maybe it's time for a break. Matt wants to run a 7th Sea game, anyway, and Mike has an adventure he'd like to run.

So Sunday we were planning on meeting up with K.T. and Kevin again to go down to Norfolk to see the Cherry Poppin' Daddies in a free outdoor concert. The plans for meeting and getting there had changed at least four times, and by the time we'd arrived at their apartment, I'd pretty much inwardly resigned myself to spending a lot of time driving and walking around Norfolk more or less aimlessly and to missing most of the concert.

Matt had forgotten to eat earlier in the day, so we decided to go to T.G.I. Friday's for dinner before we headed for Norfolk. That was sortof fun, except that the waiter wrote my dinner down wrong, and the kitchen tried to give me a platter of ribs instead of the pork chops I'd ordered. Five minutes after they'd taken it back with apologies, I'd tasted Matt's ribs and thought I should've kept them! About the time Matt had finished his ribs, my pork chops arrived, and they were pretty good. Matt was still hungry, so while I ate, he contemplated dessert.

I got a box for the second pork chop and my leftover potatoes, and about the time everyone else was deciding on a dessert, a girl from the kitchen arrived with a second platter of pork chops for me. I blinked, told her I'd already eaten, and sent her back to the kitchen. About two seconds later, of course, I realized I should've taken the plate and stuffed it all in the box. Oh, well.

By then, we were definitely going to be missing the concert. We decided that it wasn't all that important, ordered dessert, and went back to K.T. and Kevin's to watch Dogma instead. Good movie. I should add it to my wish list.

So, my weekend wasn't actually bad. Just... not what I'd planned on.

This week should be fun. Today I'm taking my dad out to lunch for a belated Father's Day. And Braz, Kris, and Karen are all planning (the last I heard, anyway) on arriving Thursday evening for the advent of the reunion party. I'm taking a half-day off from work Friday to spend time with our friends (and to go to Sam's Club, since Matt and I promised to provide hamburger and hotdog buns for K.T.'s cookout). I'm looking forward to it all!

Word of the Day: protean - able to assume different shapes or roles; displaying great versatility.

Another word I'd already known! I first encountered protean in Glen Cook's Black Company books, specifically in the third book, The White Rose, in which he describes a deadly magical storm in which everything caught in it - men, beasts, objects, and the very ground under their feet - is rendered protean for the duration of the storm.

The first three books are among my favorite books ever. They had an interesting point of view - most of the story is told by a doctor who belongs to a mercenary army working for the bad guys - and they didn't insult my intelligence. Of course, Cook is up to book nine now, if I remember correctly. I keep buying the books, but it's been several volumes since I actually cared about the (new) main characters. I want the old main characters back. I want the glimmer of dark humor back. Actually, I just want the darn thing resolved!

Thursday, June 15, 2000

15 June 2000

Well, my computer at work is fucked. Not just a little bit, either. Completely fucked. If I try to open any directories, it locks up. I spent the first two and a half hours that I was at work today rebooting. (More or less, of course - I spent some time between reboots attempting various possible fixes, none of which actually worked.) So it looks like the only way to fix it is to wipe everything and start over again. Joy joy joy.

Anyway, Outlook of all things seems to be fairly stable, so I'm going to attempt to write this journal entry into an e-mail and send it to myself at home, and I'll post it when I get there.

What's funny is that the journal entry I started writing apologized for the lack of pictures from DC because I couldn't get to the section of network here at work that houses the graphics processing software. But now I can't even get into my own machine, really.

So let me tell you about the trip to DC, which was a lot of fun.

First a word about karma: Monday night on the Hall, KT announced that she was going to take a shower and would be back in five minutes. I've known KT for years, now, and it still surprises me how fast she showers. I can't figure out how she manages to shampoo and rinse her hair even once that fast, much less wash any other parts of her body. (Note to skeptics: She doesn't smell funny or have that weird hair that comes of soap still clinging to it, so she's obviously managing to accomplish her washing. I just can't figure out how.) Anyway, I couldn't resist teasing her when she came back that she'd taken seven minutes instead of five.

So Tuesday Matt and I are getting ready to leave, and in order to avoid having to pay DC prices for gas, I decide to fill up just before we go, even though I've still got more than three-quarters of a tank. I tell Matt as I get out of the car that it'll be about five dollars worth of gas.

Karma, I'm telling you: It was seven.

Kris had told Braz she was interested in going to some of the less-absurdly-popular museums in DC. "Off the beaten path," was the phrase used, I believe. As we were exiting the interstate, headed for our hotel, Matt and I caught a sign: Weems-Botts Museum. It didn't even say a museum of what. Matt and I figured that had to be pretty well off the beaten path, if anything was! (No, we didn't go. Sorry. Maybe next time.)

So anyhow, Matt and I got to our hotel at about 8:30, and Braz and Kris showed up not too long afterwards. We talked for a good while, went over to their room to watch some movies on Braz's computer, and decided we were hungry, or at least munchy. We wound up at the 7-11 a couple of buildings over, where Kris and I grabbed some chips and chocolate and drinks. "The boys" wanted something more substantial and decided to walk another store or two over to the Blimpie sub shop. Kris and I headed back to the hotel, and when they caught up with us, they were toting subs, and had apparently gone back to the 7-11 for chips.

And while they were there, they had stumbled into probably the most pointless flavored chip ever to be invented: Heinz ketchup flavor. Now, I can tell that the company is trying to leap in on the market started by the introduction of the KC Masterpiece barbecue chips, but ketchup??? Don't try to defend them to me: I used to put ketchup on my plain chips, too, but it's still absurd.

(That's right, this is one long series of anecdotes. Just accept it and move on.)

So the next day we headed into Springfield, which was where the hotel's desk clerk had told us was the nearest place to catch the Metro. I didn't get to learn how to buy Metro tickets, because Braz - being all excited and everything - jumped in and pushed all the buttons before I could read any of the displays. But I looked at the map for a while and found that it was relatively well labeled though if I'd been by myself I'd have been up shit creek - I knew the theater was at 13th and E streets, but as near as I could tell there was nothing on the Metro map to help me pick a stopping point.

Luckily, Kris knew that the Metro central station was closest to our destination, and since we'd decided it would be a good idea to go to the theater first - so we had a good idea of where it was and how far from the station - that's what we did. For my faithful readers who have been waiting breathlessly to hear how I coped with modern mass transit, I'll end your suspense: I did finally catch on, sortof, though like I said, unless you were going to a destination which had a Metro station named after it ("Arlington Cemetery" or "Smithsonian" for example) I had no idea how to match the destination to a station. But I'd guess if I'd had to I could've called the theater and asked, "Which Metro station?" and they could have told me. It took me until almost the very end of the day to get the hang of figuring out where our train would be and how to tell whether the train in front of you was the one you wanted, but I eventually got it. I'm never going to be a big fan of mass transit, though. I hate walking too much.

Anyway. We eventually got to the central station and emerged into DC. We stopped immediately at a corner coffee store for caffeine (except for Matt, who contented himself with sugar) and walked the block and a half to the theater. Since Kris and I both were having trouble drinking our coffee and walking at the same time, we sat in front of the theater for a while and sipped our beverages of choice.

Is it only the big cities of the US that are like this? While we were sitting there, a gorgeous black Bentley car pulled up to the curb. A man got out of the back seat and went into the building next to the theater. A minute or two later, his driver got out and leaned against the car, waiting. A minute later, an equally gorgeous silver Mercedes pulled up behind the Bentley and much the same happened. The two drivers talked to each other a bit - we thought from their manner that they didn't know each other, or at least not well - they were just sharing the bond of profession. We frankly ogled the cars (from a polite distance, of course) and continued drinking our coffee. Less than thirty feet away, a homeless man was sleeping on a bench. A little while later, as we were finishing our drinks and getting ready to leave, that the Bentley's driver had some small bumps in his jacket, placed... Well, placed pretty much where a shoulder holster for a handgun might be.

At some point, we were riding the Metro and we passed through a station called L'Enfant Plaza. Matt looked at me and said, "The Baby Plaza!"

I took it a step further: "The Baby Place." I thought about it for a moment, then whispered, "Don't tell Kris!"

(We told her and Braz later, of course, because it was funny. Kris has a thing for babies.)

We decided we'd go to the Smithsonian. (So much for "off the beaten path.") The plan was to go to the Air and Space museum and have lunch at the restaurant on its premises. Walking from the Metro station to the Air and Space center, though, we passed the Art gallery, which was showing an exhibit on Salvador Dali. Well, of course we had to go in.

They had some really lovely pieces. There was a sketched study for Braz's favorite Dali piece, Spain and originals of things every third college student had put on their wall in print form which of course did the originals no justice. The piece that blew me away, though, did so by surprise. Ascension is, I gathered, considered amazing because of its wonderful use of depth - the picture seems to follow you as you walk by it. But it grabbed me because the tears on the angel's face were so perfectly done that I made the security guard nervous by leaning very close to it to reassure myself they were only paint, and not pearls or drops of glass that had been fixed to the canvas. They had it as a print in the shop, but I passed - it just wasn't as astonishingly real looking.

By the time we'd finished there and made it to the Air and Space Center, we were famished. Also, my feet were starting to hurt. So we went to lunch. We had our choice between a cafeteria-style eatery, or a sit-down restaurant. The place was swarming with kids - apparently Wednesday had been a big school trip day - and so I suggested the restaurant, accepting in advance that it would be absurdly overpriced.

We were buttering our rolls when I saw Braz's eyes get huge. He covered his gaping mouth with one hand. I looked at the party to which his eyes were focused - several distinguished older gentlemen and a couple of well-dressed ladies. Well, this was Washington, after all - I assumed one of them was a politician Braz recognized and had strong feelings about. The problem was, I couldn't tell from his face whether it was someone he admired or loathed. They were being seated at the table next to ours.

Matt, whose back was to them, finally said, "What?"

Quietly, so they wouldn't hear them, Braz hissed, "Buzz Aldrin!"

My brain plays these little tricks on me. My immediate reaction to the name was to think, You mean the astronaut? And then my brain said, Don't be absurd. You're confusing the name with Buzz Lightyear, the cartoon. Go ahead, say astronaut and see how hard they laugh at you. So I just asked. I'd rather admit to not knowing something than be unsure and guess and be wrong. But I'd been right. Silly brain. Yeah, the same Buzz Aldrin who was the second man to stand on the moon.

Kris and I were duly impressed. Braz and Matt, however, spent the rest of the meal awestruck. They resisted asking for an autograph, and even declined to take a picture with my digital camera which wouldn't even have flashed. After lunch, however, another bystander told them that Dr. Aldrin was in the museum to do a book-signing. Naturally, we went in search of the line.

After standing (and sitting) in line for what seemed like years and nearly an hour after he was supposed to return to signing, the explanation trickled down the line: They were out of the books. And since he was only signing books...

Ah, well. The boys were disappointed, but only a little. They'd gotten to eat lunch less than ten feet from him, after all.

We wandered around the museum a little, and back into the gift shop. Matt and Braz were looking at kites when I went looking for Kris, who'd gotten bored and left the shop. Lucky for us she had! They'd brought some books, and Buzz was back in business! We hurried over and took a few pictures from afar - my camera has a pretty good zoom - and then we wondered, what were we thinking?! I stood in line while Kris went to get the guys. They were floating on cloud nine for the rest of the afternoon.

Matt meets Buzz Aldrin

Braz watches ESPN while waiting for his dinnerWe ate dinner at the ESPNZone, which I thought was really funny. There were televisions everywhere, including a touch-screen monitor at every table that let you pick from among something like eight different ESPN feeds and adjust the volume. There were televisions in the bathrooms, even. Definitely the ultimate sports-bar.

What? Food? Oh, yeah, I guess the food was okay.

(To be honest, we weren't really all that hungry. It had only been about three hours since lunch, and we would've eaten later if it weren't for the Eric Idle show.)

Eric IdleThe show! Eric Idle Sings Exploits Monty Python! It was, in essense, Eric Idle performing a number of Monty Python's best songs and skits with a small non-Python cast. Of course it was hysterically funny!

Best of all, though, was that the show was being filmed! When the show and the "completely spontaneous encore" were done, they asked us to sit down while they turned the lights on and filmed the audience laughing. And then they had to re-do a few sketches and pieces of sketches that they'd flubbed during the show. Of course we weren't going to leave! If Kris hadn't been so terribly tired, we might've stuck around for the entire re-filming!

As it was, we hung around for at least 45 minutes after the actual show was over. It was fantastic!

Matt and I decided on the Metro back to the hotel that we were too tired to drive home and should check back into the hotel. (I probably should have guessed in advance that this would be the case and just booked a room for two nights. Oh, well.) So we stepped up to the desk.

Imagine our surprise when the desk clerk told us that he'd already turned away twenty-five or thirty people that evening because they were full! (I'm sure Braz and Kris would've offered the second double bed in their room if they'd had one, but they were in a room with a single king-sized bed, and while our friendships are sufficiently close to bear sharing a room for a night, I don't think we're quite close enough for the four of us to sleep in a single bed, no matter how well suited to an orgy the bed might seem!) (That's a joke. Feel free to laugh at any time.)

Luckily, only seconds before Matt and I had come in and asked for a room, the hotel had had a cancellation, and so they had a room they could give us. It was a smoking room, but beggars can't be choosers. Luckily, it was fairly well ventilated, and only the faintest hint of smoke lingered in the bedspread. Matt and I were too tired to care much, anyway.

Alas, we wanted to work for half a day today, so we checked out immediately after breakfast and headed home. I did witness an amusing exchange during breakfast, though. A woman said to (I assume) her son: "Steve, they have some English muffins over here!" (The breakfast was essentially a buffet of carbohydrates.)

Steve, a boy of about nine, replied, "I don't want one!"

The mother snapped back, "Yes, you do!"

I thought this was hysterical. I don't think my parents ever tried to tell me what I did want to eat. I'd gotten, "No, you don't," in response to "I want [junk food of choice]," but never the reverse!

Tuesday, June 13, 2000

13 June 2000

Ack. What a morning. The air conditioning in my car is starting to be less than effective - the air it blows is cool, but not cold. And Matt and I are driving tonight up to D.C., and coming back either tomorrow night or Thursday morning, and in any case we'll want working air conditioning. It shouldn't be a huge fix; the car is like eight years old, so it's no surprise that the unit needs recharging or refilling or whatever.

So this morning Matt and I left extra-early and stopped at the Merchant's to drop off my car. When I walked in, there were several people in front of me. First in line were a pair of women who dithered for at least fifteen minutes. How hard is it? You need work done, you get the work done! If you're not sure if you can afford it, tell the place to call you when they have an estimate! Ack! Finally, they turned over their keys and left.

The older guy who was in front of me was obviously bringing the car in for his wife. He didn't actually know what was wrong with the car, though he dutifully repeated what he'd been told. "...this sort of flapping noise at lower speeds."

"At what speed? Around 30?"

"At lower speeds."

He didn't take too long, though. As he was handing his keys to the girl behind the counter, I felt this weird vibration in the nose and temple of my glasses. I lifted my hand to adjust them, and the right lens popped out and fell on the floor. Ack!

The Merchant's has a sortof speckled grey floor. There was no way I was going to find the screw on that, though the older guy was very nice and helped me look.

"It's all right," I told him after a minute or so had gone by. "I've got a repair kit with extra screws." It's true, I do. This isn't the first time the lens has popped out of these glasses, though I've always been able to find the screw before. After the first time it happened and I had to try to put the screw back in with the screwdriver on my Swiss Army knife, I went out and bought the kit. It has a small screwdriver, several spare screws in various sizes, a magnifying glass, and some extra nosepads.

I fished it out of my purse, dumped a screw out, and tried to put it in my glasses. About this time, Matt came in looking for me. There I am, trying to explain to Matt, fix my glasses, and tell the Merchant's girl what I wanted done with the car. Ack!

I finally gave up on the glasses, deciding that I could see without them until I got to work, and once I got there I'd be able to put things down on my desk. I tried putting the frames back on my face, but the good vision I was getting through the remaining lens conflicted badly with the uncorrected vision in my right eye. I hadn't thought my vision was that bad, but I guess it is.

Oh, well, once I got to work, it only took me a couple of minutes to fix the glasses. I'd been trying to put the screw in upside-down. Oops. Heh.

I hope the rest of the day is better! As I said yesterday, you won't hear from me at all tomorrow, unless something so bizarre happens that I borrow Braz's computer long enough to post to the notify list. But we'll be away from even the laptop for most of the day, so don't count on it. I'll take notes on my Palm, though, and you'll get a report on Thursday or Friday! With pictures, even!

Word of the Day: adventitious - coming from another source and not inherent or innate; arising or occurring sporadically or in other than the usual location

Neat. Right now I'm in Williamsburg, which is a huge tourist town. Just about everyone here looks adventitious. And tomorrow, I'll be in Washington, D.C., where I'll be adventitious.

Oh gods above and below, help me to remember what idiot things tourists do in Williamsburg that drive me nuts, and help me not to do them in D.C... Unless I'm in the mood to be irritating, of course.

Monday, June 12, 2000

12 June 2000

So Matt and I were driving around this weekend, doing normal weekend things, and we pulled up at a light behind this large pickup truck with a couple of bumper stickers. The sticker on the right read, "I work for a Jewish carpenter" and just as I registered that, Matt hmphed and muttered, "And a 'peeing Calvin' sticker."

Sure enough, the sticker on the left was one of those obnoxious things. The object of Calvin's scorn in this case was PETA. I blinked.

An anti-PETA sticker on one hand, and a pro-Christianity sticker on the other. I suggested to Matt that perhaps this fellow was a member of Christians for Cruelty to Animals.

The book I'm listing as reading today I actually finished last night, but since I read pretty much the whole book over the weekend, and I haven't picked up anything new to read yet, I thought it deserved some web time.

I liked it, but it was a little frustrating. It seems to be a common thing to do lately - to assiduously avoid anything like a "happy ending" without necessarily ending things badly, either. Come on, people! There's enough uncertainty about the future in real life! I want to know that the woman and man that spent the whole book chasing each other - in what I might add was a beautiful dance of courtship - do get back together again! Really! It wouldn't spoil the book for me to learn that!

Some of the symbolism was a little heavy-handed toward the end, too. But all in all, I really enjoyed the book. It was a mix of stone age archaeology, modern anthropology, and romance. Two of those are favorite hobbies of mine, and the third is something I find fascinating, so all in all, a good find for me.

So... I got my hair cut this weekend.

Liz's new haircutI've always been sortof tetchy about my hair. When other people get their hair cut, I'm usually fine with it, even if it was a disaster - it'll grow out, after all, and it usually doesn't look that bad. But my hair? No way!

The summer before I started the sixth grade, I had my waist-length hair cut. All the way down to a layered pageboy. I was okay with it for the sixth grade, but then I decided I was tired of it. I missed my long hair. So I started growing it back out.

What a disaster. Just in case you've never had to do it yourself - growing out layered hair is a pain, and it looks completely awful until it's done. I got a perm to try to cover the awfulness, but the perm just made it look fluffy and awful. It wasn't until the eleventh grade that my hair looked halfway decent again. I swore I'd never cut it shorter than shoulder-length again.

But somehow, that translated in the back of my mind to swearing that I'd never cut it again. So for the past ten years or so I haven't done more than get it trimmed. Last summer I wanted a change and - hold onto your hats - got bangs. But I have this awful cowlick right in front, so the bangs all got combed over to the side anyway, and I started growing them out again.

But Saturday morning, after weeks of toying with the idea, I called a salon and made an appointment, and had it cut to shoulder length. I kindof like it, and it feels right for me, actually - I'm not continually missing the long stuff except in the shower when I try to wash it. It's a little limp over on my left, where the sheer volume of hair pulls it down, and I'm thinking in a few months, once I'm used to it, I might possibly try a perm again. We'll see. One step at a time!

Word of the Day: carouse - to take part in a drunken revel; to engage in dissolute behavior

So, tomorrow after work Matt and I will be driving up to Washington - well, near Washington, anyway. We'll meet Braz and Kris at a hotel, probably stay up too late talking, and then Wednesday we'll get up entirely too early considering how late we'd been up and go into D.C. proper for a day of sightseeing and an evening of comedy.

Matt and I decided to reserve our hotel room for just Tuesday night on the theory that if we're too tired Wednesday night to drive home, we can probably check back into the hotel then. One way or another, we're taking at least half of Thursday off to recover. So I certainly won't write on Wednesday, and you probably won't hear from me until late, if at all, on Thursday. But I'm taking my camera, so whenever I get back, hopefully I'll have pictures of the carousing!

Friday, June 9, 2000

9 June 2000

Right. So, those of you who haven't joined the mailing list missed out last night. I know I don't post to the list often - maybe two or three times a month (not at all in May - I had someone join and then quit two weeks later, I assume because of the lack of traffic) but when I do, you know it's something you want! Usually it's a notify that I updated the page later in the day or on the weekend.

But last night, last night's post was special. Last night, I just had to tell someone about my experience with MTV's Movie Awards. (Don't you want to join the list now? Go ahead!) The thing that blew me away was Sara Jessica Parker (who I figured out after I wrote to the list plays the lead character on HBO's Sex and the City, which I should have known, darnit) coming out onstage to host the awards in a dress that was more sheer than the sexiest lingerie I've ever owned. Seriously.

And then she opened the evening by saying, "Good evening! My dress is see-through!" At that point, I couldn't stand it - I marched right back upstairs and wrote about it to the list. Of course, then I came back downstairs and watch half an hour or so of the show, and it was actually pretty good. It helped that they weren't taking themselves very seriously. And that SJP had changed into a new dress. Actually, according to Matt, in the time I'd been upstairs writing, she'd changed at least twice. Part of the show's schtick, apparently, was that she would change twelve times over the course of the two-hour show.

Matt told me this morning about a poofy camouflage dress that a "Marine" crawled out of. I went looking this morning for pictures, but MTV's website only had a few of the less-spectacular dresses posted.

It was funny. If I hadn't been so tired, I probably would've stuck around for the whole thing. Maybe next year.

So yesterday Becky and Steve dropped by the office to chat and to play with our toys. Unfortunately for me, both Mikes had stepped out, so I had to handle them by myself. (They're nice, but for some reason they turn into three-year-olds when they come into this office. Steve is worse than Becky in that he never actually shuts up.)

Anyway, Steve was trying to be clever at one point and he said, "I like it over here. There's a sense of life over here. In [his suite], we just have a sense of Oracle, and death."

I looked up at him calmly and said, "I think it's coffee you're sensing over here."

It was funny when I said it, all right?

Ah, Friday at last. Once I go home today, I'll be able to relax!

I think this is the last weekend for a month that we don't have some kind of plans for. (I mean, there's the game Saturday, but there's always the game Saturday. I don't count that. Counting the Saturday game as part of our "plans" is like saying, "Oh, and I'll take a couple of showers, too." No need to mention it unless another plan is interfering with it.)

But next weekend we're going with K.T. and Kevin to see the Cherry Poppin' Daddies in concert, and the weekend after that is the reunion party, and then we have a weekend off (okay, so this isn't the last weekend with nothing on the calendar), and then there's my brother's wedding, and the weekend after that we'll be traveling back from Chicago. Busy busy busy!

Word of the Day: wowser - (Australian) an obtrusively puritanical person

There was a time when my aunt - my father's brother's wife - was one of these. She would give my brother and me little "presents" like a little box of fortune-cookie-fortune-sized cards with biblical verses on them, and she would worry that I played D&D, and she would drive us all crazy with her social-political opinions.

I think the time I wanted to throttle her the most was one Christmas vacation, she struck up a conversation with me early one morning and somehow worked her way around to opining that she thought it was good that most Americans didn't approve of alternative homestyles. I had to ask her what she meant. It turned out that she meant homosexuals. I had to put down my breakfast and walk away. At that time, I had several very close friends who were gay, and several more who were bi-sexual, and I knew - knew the way you know the sun will come up in the morning - that if I tried to argue this with her, neither of us would change our opinions, and it would only upset both of us. (The gods only know how she'd feel now to find out that I believe not only that homosexual marriage should be legal, but group marriages as well. I'm sure I don't even want to go there with her. Anyone else who would like to calmly and rationally discuss the topic is welcome to do so.)

I don't know if she "got it" then, or if she became too busy with her own children and life then to keep it up, but since then, she doesn't try to talk to me about religion, politics, or social views. We talk about the fascinating sights and customs of the places they live, and we talk about my cousins' plans for the future, and we talk about how nice it is to get the family together.