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October 30, 2001
I refuse to complain about

I refuse to complain about how late it is. There, that's not a complaint, but still you know that I'm aware of the late hour, and were I to have my druthers, as I should, I would have it otherwise. But I'm not complaining. I wouldn't change a thing.

This is what happens when you hang out in Circuit City, mindlessly wandering the aisles, tossing over a damn expensive decision as if it was merely a lark. I'm considering my soon-to-be-new digital camera, you see. I've been doing research about it for at least a month, probably a year, and I was pretty sure which one I wanted to get. It's fancy, of course; top of the line, settle-for-nothing-less, super-duper. My plan was to go to Circuit City and buy it, even though their prices are high, and play around with it for a while to see how I liked it, all the while keeping in mind their generous 30 day return policy. Of course, they need this policy because their employees are so clueless, and the organization of the store so moronic, that anyone who buys something there will need 30 days just to sort out what the hell just happened to them.

I was prepared to make this transaction, but Jacob (no relation) The Helpful Salesman had other plans. He thought it would be better to go off for 15 minutes looking for a manager to answer a question to which I already knew the answer. He was gone before I could stop him, and I was left standing there listening to his colleagues give disastrous advice to my fellow customers. A man who wanted a digital camera to take photos of his paintings to put on the web was told that he needed "something with a good zoom" and "an optical zoom, too, because that's the zoom that you can control". He would also naturally need an extremely high resolution camera to take pictures for a web site. I ran into him later in another section and gave him a quick course and a few URLs that might be more useful. Ever the good samaritan, I. Ha!

Yeah, so I decided to leave after standing around deliberating for half an hour, while three unburdened salespeople stood near me exchanging pseudo-jargon (that's right, it didn't even rise to the level of jargon) about megapixels and "f1.8 zoom" lenses, which were, ahem, "tight".

Laterwise, I got home and worked on adding search to my web site. So now you can search slapnose.com to your heart's content, via the link at the top of this page, or on the home page, or wherever else I stick one. I've yet to customize the results page, but that's coming. Hopefully not tonight. Really, not tonight.

There must be something else.. Yeah, there is.

October 24, 2001
I found this thing what

I found this thing what lets people comment on my coredump entries. Try it, if you like. I realize that this isn't really a thread starting kind of publication, it's more mine all mine, so I'll probably take the comment thing down soon. I just wanted to try it. I suppose it'd be cooler if I wrote it myself, but hey, this was faster.

What do you think of that, huh, smarty?

October 23, 2001
From the "volleyball = life"

From the "volleyball = life" files:

My earlier comment about my spiking to the effect that I "got the power, now I just need the aim" pretty well sums up where I am in my life right now. I got the power, I just have to work on the aim. I said that twice.

I don't really believe that stuff about volleyball equaling life.

Tuesday. Two-sday. Too-sday. To-sday. Feels

Tuesday. Two-sday. Too-sday. To-sday. Feels like it should be at least Wind-sday. Blustery.

I think I'm getting sick. I feel achy, sneezy, tiredy, and a little cold-sweaty. These days, when you start feeling sick, you hope it's the flu.

I'm fairly sure my illness is being brought on by my profound lack of sleep. I think I've been averaging about 5 hours for a few weeks, and my body is rebelling. Immune system is shutting down, microbes establishing beach heads, advancing on my defenseless mucus membranes. Ha. That reminds me. Something funny I saw yesterday reading Dave Barry. I love that guy.

Why is baseball our national pastime? Because it is a metaphor for life itself. As George Will put it: ``In life, as in baseball, we must leave the dugout of complacency, step up to the home plate of opportunity, adjust the protective groin cup of caution and swing the bat of hope at the curve ball of fate, hoping that we can hit a line drive of success past the shortstop of misfortune, then sprint down the basepath of chance, knowing that at any moment we may pull the hamstring muscle of inadequacy and fall face-first onto the field of failure, where the chinch bugs of broken dreams will crawl into our nose.''

Ripped from http://www.miami.com/herald/special/features/barry/2001/docs/oct21.htm

Anyway.. where was I...

Volleyball was a bit of a travesty last night. We lost all three games again, which is depressing. It's not nearly as depressing as the summer games were, at least we're playing something reasonably close to volleyball, but it's still nice to win every now and then. I made a couple of really bone-headed plays, missed a serve, and hit one spike really hard right into the back wall of the gym. Got the power, now I just need the aim.

Had a couple of beers watching the baseball game, then got home around 1 and had a nice night, still not getting enough sleep. I really wanted nothing more than to stay in bed this morning, and it turns out I should have. As usual these days, all the work I should be doing is delayed for one reason or another, waiting in the queue so that they all might descend upon me at once. Work is fun.

My aim now is to have a good time for the next few weeks, months. I need it. Keep humor and joy and love in my life, actively. Spend time with those most important to me, enjoy the city, get out of the city, explore. Ironically, it will take a lot of time management to get in all this relaxing. It's so easy for work and piddling crap to squeeze their way into all of my time. I'm not writing enough, not reading enough, not thinking enough. I want to start that screenplay I've been tossing around. But I feel it coming. A period of enlightenment. The Reformation. At the very least, some kind of Inquisition.

I got one of the nicest compliments of my life yesterday, but I don't want to repeat it here, lest I cheapen it. I'll keep it in my head and heart instead, where it's safe.

I've also forgotten 90 things that I was going to write about. I really have to start writing these things down more. And then actually transferring them after I do. Yeah, I'll do that.

Image: Grasping chain link fence, in the pale sodium street light, criss-crossed shadows on faces, eyes of hope and light.

October 22, 2001
Sometimes the music really distracts

Sometimes the music really distracts me when I'm trying to dump core. But then, I like music.

So, the World Trade Center volunteering.
We had to be at the Red Cross in Brooklyn at 10:30 to start a midnight shift. We arrived and starting filing out forms while being told repeatedly to hurry up, that the bus was leaving soon. We finished the forms, and then were ushered into a room to be interviewed. They asked us about our feelings about the disaster, if we were directly affected, and what are reactions had been on the 11th. I guess some people just start crying when they bring it up, and they have to dismiss them. We passed though, and they sent us of, running, to get our ID badges.

They loaded us on to the bus and we headed for the site. On the way down, we got a quick and dirty orientation, including being explicity instructed not to give any workers or firemen "chinese pleasure massages", to wear hard hats at all times outside, and various other instructions. We also picked our assignments on the bus. The coordinator called out something like "Logistics!" or "Kitcken!" or "Oasis Room!" and then a number of people, and started taking called out names until the spots for that detail were filled. It was the kind of thing where you don't know what to volunteer for if you've never been before, as was the case for about half the bus load, because the next thing might be better. I ended up on the kitchen crew. We arrived down there right around midnight, at the Marriott Hotel about a block from "the pile".

The streets are covered with dust, debris on all the awnings, and the whole landscape is about as surreal as you can get. Bright lights shining on the pile, construction trailers everywhere, military personnel, cops, firemen, constructions workers. Huge trucks lined up waiting to be filled on one side, and full trucks leaving on the other, being sprayed with water to cool down the still smoldering wreckage. We didn't have much time to gawk though, we were ushered right into the hotel, and directly to the kitchen where we started serving food. The job consisted almost entirely of standing on a steam table line, serving up rice, chicken, veggies, etc. At about 4 a.m. we switched to breakfast. Somewhere in there I did a couple hours of dishes in the big hotel kitchen.

The hotel had been converted into a "respite center", of which the red cross is running three. It's a place that anyone working down there can go anytime they want and get a decent meal, sit and talk, get counseling, a massage, sleep. There are hundreds of volunteers at each one, and a steady stream of clean-up people 24 hours a day. They expect to be down there doing this for a year.

The response of the people was so varied. Some looked shell-shocked, didn't talk much, and just went silenty through the line, pointing to the food they wanted and going into the dining room to sit by themselves. Other were laughing and joking with their friends, and with us. We tried a little bit to entertain people, to show them a smile and a friendly word. We wore tall paper chef's hats, which got lots of grins. It's amazing to think of all these people going down there every day, or every night, and dealing with this. In some ways, working there inside the hotel, it's easy to forget what's going on, it's a job you're doing for 8 hours that night, and you just keep on shoveling sausage without a thought. But then every now and then someone comes in covered with dust, or with a look on their face that I've never seen before on anyone. Numbness, extreme exhaustion. Some of these guys looked like they were so young. Many of them are just telephone workers, or ConEd guys. They were never remotely prepared for this to be their job. The cops, the firemen, at least they're in the field. They expect to be in the middle of shit when it happens; but the utility workers, the construction workers, some of them just looked awful. It's almost impossible to know what to say or do. I just tried to smile at them and be very polite and respectful. Many of them were very grateful to us as well.

This is getting long.

The shift ended at 8 a.m. and our replacements came. We left to get on the bus and saw our surroundings by the light of day for the first time. We were very close to the pile, and the wrecked facade of one of the towers is still standing and was sillhouetted against the steel gray dawn sky. It was very striking and spooky. Everyone on the bus had their necks craned around looking at it until it was out of sight. There's no way to to really describe it; the whole place was a war zone. Everything has been changed to facilitate the clean up process, there's no sense that this area will be "normal" for many many months.

Managed about 3 hours of sleep Saturday morning before going out to the park to play volleyball. Those of us who had been at the site overnight weren't exactly playing our "A" game, but it was still lots of fun. A beautiful day, unseasonably warm, and we had a good group of people. Dave, Cass, and Erica even showed up. I had a couple of decent hits, my swing adjustments are working a little bit I think. I'll try some more tomorrow night at our game.

After volleyball we hopped the train down to Eric Dalessio's again. Tall Paul drove up, so this time we were only missing Thane. It was a bit more low-key than last time, as we were all pretty tired and Dave was sick. If Dave's sick, it's automatically a more low-key evening. Nate and Amanda came up too, though, so there was some good music going on (and some bad). Amanda was disappointed that her drinking buddy from last time wasn't there, but such is life. That's another blog, another time. I had a great time jamming a little with Eric and Nate, singing harmonies and playing some extended blues. I suck, but it's still fun.

Gotta cut this short... Stayed in Fanwood for most of the afternoon, playing football, eating and talking. Made it back to the city, went to Liz, Kris and Rich's and had some soup and watched a little baseball. There we go.

On the way home this evening, there was a guy on the subway dressed in a full tunic. I'm not sure if that's the right word. Whatever it's called, it's traditional Muslim clothing, and he had a little hat on, etc. In any case, he was obviously a devout Muslim. This is a weird story to tell, but it warrants telling I think. I didn't think anything at all of him at first, and never really did until I happened to glance his way and he was sort of reading a paper, but his eyes were darting all over the place. He couldn't keep his eyes on the paper for more than a few seconds. What struck me about the whole thing was how two sided it was. He was likely just a regular guy who's feeling very vulnerable these days. He probably gets comments, certainly suspicious looks, all the time.I mean, he basically was dressed in what has largely become thought of as "terrorist wear" by many people, subconsciously or not. But then the other side of it is, that when you see someone sitting darting their eyes around and looking very nervous, that only focuses your attention on any little ember of fear that might pop into your head. Any little paranoia on your part is quickly amplified by what is most likely also paranoia on his part. And vice-versa.

It was a strange thing to think about. I couldn't figure out if the thoughts I was having were indictable somehow as well. In some ways, the mere focus on the distinction between us is suspect. I don't know. How can you not notice differences? You can't. But where is the line drawn?

I'm 9 minutes past my deadline. Must sleep.

October 18, 2001
Quick one, I'm so damn

Quick one, I'm so damn tired, it's almost painful.
I feel really weird, but it must be just sheer exhaustion. I think it's been a long time since I've gotten this little sleep. If it's not one thing it's another, and I just been finding myself staying up absurdly late. I think my work is starting to suffer. Ha.

So, lessee.. The whole week is a strange, sleep-deprived blur. We played volleyball Wednesday night, got stomped. We played relatively well, not as well as last week, but not too badly, we just got beaten. So it's still fun and not nearly as frustrating as the summer season became, but it's still a bummer to lose all three. I got one nice laid out, diving dig though. Ganked my knees pretty good. I really have to learn how to hit. I had one opportunity that was just perfect. Great set, timing was spot on, I got big air, and then just nothing. Couldn't get any power into the ball. John's been giving me some pointers, though, and I'm a-gonna work on it.

Tomorrow night I'm going down to Ground Zero to volunteer with the Red Cross. I guess they'll have us doing food serving, clean up, and stuff like that. I've been sort of wanting to go down there, but I've been feeling a little bit weird about it. Like it's disrespectful, or crass, or something. I know it's something to witness, and it's important to see it first hand to really understand the magnitude of what happened, even over a month later, but there's still something that has disturbed me enough about the idea that I haven't yet made the trip. Maybe the visceral knowledge of it isn't necessary. Maybe in some ways it would make it harder for me to look at events rationally. Of course there's no reason to try to divorce all emotion from these kinds of things, but with this war still unfolding every day, maybe it can be important to try to maintain some kind of objectivity, if that's possible. To at least strive to. Not to say that we should believe that everyone's point-of-view is valid, or that morality doesn't play a part, but it's a real challenge to try to consider the larger issues. All of the things I might see down at Ground Zero could make it much harder to see the larger issues. It's like the guys I was arguing with in Union Square weeks ago: They were telling me about finding fingers in the rubble, I was trying to make sure that people realized that everyone who dies is dead, and it's always horrible for people to be blown up, here or there or anywhere.

Anyway, in this case, I'm going down there to help. I'll feed some of the people who are dealing with these kinds of question every single day, and have been for 7 weeks, whether they like it or not. I'll get to go down there and witness the scene, but I'll leave something behind.

The guy at the Roxy last night told us he had been working down there for weeks and seem unspeakable things, but that seeing us hanging out at the bar made him smile; that we looked like happy people, and he had been watching us and we have him some hope. We can help in many ways.

And now I truly must sleep.

October 16, 2001
It's amazing how quickly midnight

It's amazing how quickly midnight sneaks up on me. I feel like I just got home, and I'm already up later than I would like to be. I wonder if I'll ever have a regular sleep schedule. My parents always go to bed early, but I don't remember if they did when they were my age. I've only just recently passed the age that my parents were when I was born, so I guess that's not surprising.

Work has been a little bit strange for the past week. The week before that too. Everyone is adjusting I think. First our whole world was shaken up, along with everyone else's, and in many ways that's still going on. As much as we try to do the regular stuff, it doesn't feel exactly regular, and certainly now with all this anthrax going around, he says disturbingly casually. And then the layoff rumors, and then the layoffs themselves. There's a lot of change going around. Seems like everyone is transitioning. So, lately, things have been a bit strange. Not bad, just odd. It's like the atmosphere alternates from exaggerated silliness to exaggerated gloom and back again several times a minute. It's okay, though, I think there are some really good people there, and many of us are genuinely good friends, not just work friends. They're strange friendships, in a way, those with coworkers. Because you see them all the time, most of the time, and then if you're actually friends, you see them a lot outside of work, too. So you're really privvy to so much of a person's life, but then work forces a certain professionalism on the relationship at certain times (most times). It's different than, say, my friendship with Dave. Dave and I never have to be professional. We're just brothers.

I'm upset that I left my book out at Julie's place. I was right in the middle and really enjoying it. I considered sitting in Barnes & Noble this evening and reading it for a while, but I didn't. Instead I bought a new cell phone, but I can't pick it up until tomorrow. It's smaller than my last one, and a little bit fancier. I'll need a whole new wardrobe.

The thing about friends reminds me of this article from the Times Magazine this weekend. It made me feel better about my status as a member of one of the fastest growing demographics in America, the "never marrieds". It's weird, being of an age where marriage would even be appropriate really snuck up on me. I don't think I ever noticed it happening, but here I am. It still seems a little far-fetched. I guess that's the point, though; when it doesn't feel far-fetched, that's when you do it.

Here's what happens to a cell phone when you drop it under a moving car: It dies.

October 15, 2001
My cell phone was run

My cell phone was run over by a car.

Friday, I left work early to go home and get some stuff together to go out to Julie's place in the Hamptons for the weekend. I managed to completely waste all of that "got home early" time, and was running late to catch my train. I'm used to trains that run all the time, so I always forget when I'm catching LIRR or NJTransit or something that if you miss it, you missed it. Gotta wait an hour or more.
There's no good way from my place to Atlantic Avenue, so I was deliberating between taking the bus or the train. I decided on the bus as being more direct. So I'm waiting on 7th Ave, and the bus is late. Wait wait wait. I take out my phone to see what time it is, and as I flipped it open, I fumbled it. I watched it tumble toward the street just as a car pulls into the bus stop to park. The synchronization was perfect; the phone barely even hit the ground before the tire crushed it. I didn't have time to react, I just stood there as the tire smeared the phone about 3 feet down the street with a terrible grinding noise. Some other guys at the bus stop started, "Holy Shit! Oh maaann.. that fucking sucks!" I just stood there, thinking I should probably go to bed. Another man walked up and handed me a flyer for a cell phone store. Clever.

Taking this whole episode as a bad bus omen, I headed for the subway. Despite all of the subways attempts to delay me further (late trains, "held by station control", "we'll be moving shortly"), I made it to the train station in plenty of time, sweating and my patience hanging by a thread. So, as if I needed to, I have to buy a new cell phone, but otherwise, not the end of the world. It could have been my face under that tire. Or yours. And hey, good story, huh?

I had a terrific weekend out of the city. Great to be out in the woods with crickets, trees, biting insects, and dogs. I got to play lots of music with Alec too, which was fantastic. I really have to keep doing that, it feels so good. He showed me a few new chords, but mostly it was just great to be able to jam, even in my limited 4 chord way, while he soloed over it, and we all sang pretty songs we all knew by heart. Truly, this is living. Also ate great food, spent little money, and played some mean Scrabble™. Can't beat it.

And now back to work. All of my stories seem to end this way.

October 12, 2001
Well, lessee.. (oh, that's an

Well, lessee.. (oh, that's an auspicious beginning)

Anthrax. They're finding people with anthrax in New York now. The world is becoming a damn strange place. I know thousands, millions, of people live with far worse every single day of their lives, and likely this is what drives someone to decide that a good idea would be to drive an airplane into a building, but damn it, I'm not used to it. And I don't want to be. I'm an 18-34 year old white American male, what the hell do I know about living in fear?

It's been a tough and rollercoaster week. It's finally Friday, and I'm getting out of town for the weekend. Thank the great good lord.

I spent the night at Dave's on Wednesday and took the day off Thursday. Hanging out with Dave, Cass, Matt, and Erica was refueling. I needed it desperately. I hesitated when thinking if I should go, then I remembered a lesson I seem to have forgotten. Go. Stop getting in the way of my own good life.

I miss funny, open, free people. People who throw little impromptu parties when one of their friends gets a new job, complete with crepe paper streamers and cookies. I recognize that I'd get damn irritated if my life was like that all the time, there's a time for silly and a time for not, I like my peace and quiet too, but it was just what I needed this week.

Hmm.. A friend pointed out something that I wrote a few weeks before September 11 in which I was going on about people being selfish and our culture and society generally going down the tubes. Then I said something about us needing some kind of a catastrophe to wake us all up to what's really important, to get us out of "our selfish shells". Creepy. Now, of course, I wasn't wishing for anyone to die or anything of the sort. More a commentary on how sad it is that it takes things like this to bring people together, to get them to look outside of themselves and see the world around them. To recognize their place in it, their influence on others, all that. What was in my mind was more of a natural disaster; no one to blame. It makes me think of cheesy movies like Deep Impact. Something that threatens humanity as a whole would really put things into perspective, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I can't find the post. I remember writing it, but I dug through the archives, looked at the date he sent me (and all the others) and couldn't find it. Weird.

Dave and I talked about it and he related it to something he'd read in a book called Conversations With God, which he's been after me to read for some time. I guess the point made in this book is that time is a contruct of our minds, and not a part of the natural world, or a part of "god's world" in the author's view. To god, the universe, whatever, everything happens at the same time. There is no past, present, future, no beginning, middle or end. It's all just there. And when we have deja-vu or find striking coincidences like what I mentioned above, it's just a glimpse of something that's always been there. We approach our lives linearly, and perhaps we need to, but every once in a while we catch a little picture out of the corner of our eye of something outside of that. According to this view, my disturbingly prescient thought on August 24 would be one of those times.

I don't understand why I can't find that post. -- later that day -- Ah-ha! I couldn't find the post because it wasn't from coredump, it was from the topic project. It's here, dated August 24, 2001. So there ya go.

In other news, I got this clip about a guy I went to high school with: (sorry to include the whole text, but I can't find it online)

Brother's memory spurs him on By Jim Ritter Health Reporter Chicago Sun Times

When cystic fibrosis patient Dean Storm announced he was entering the Chicago Marathon, friends said it would be enough just to run a few miles.

But his mother knew better.

"He was planning on finishing," Joan Storm Rettaliata said. "He wanted the whole thing. That's the way he has lived his life."

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that, among other things, coats the lungs with thick mucus. Storm, a 27-year-old technical writer, has 75 percent normal lung capacity. Breathing is difficult, especially when running.

"It's like asthma, except worse," he said.

Storm ran in memory of his younger brother, Damien, also born with cystic fibrosis. Damien died in 1998, a week after receiving transplants of lung segments from his mother and a cousin.

"He was my best friend and I miss him a lot," Storm said. "This one's for him."

The 26.2-mile course, tough enough for runners in good health, was especially grueling for Storm. He suffered several severe coughing fits.
And he sweated excessive amounts of salt, a complication of his disease. To prevent dehydration, Storm gulped at least 15 cups of Gatorade.

Storm also suffered the normal agonies of long distance running, including sore thighs and aching knees and ankles. He nearly cramped up, and at the 20-mile mark, he hit the dreaded wall.

Damien's memory kept him going.

"When things get hard, I think about him," Storm said. "It helps me get through. This is a piece of cake compared to what he went through."

Storm's goal was to finish in 51/2 hours. He made it in 5 hours, 26 minutes, 24 seconds. His parents, aunt, girlfriend and two co-workers
waited for him near Buckingham Fountain. He walked to them slowly, with a slight limp. His face was streaked with lines of dried salt.

Storm's mother recalled that when he was a toddler, doctors said he probably wouldn't live past his 10th birthday. But treatments are
improving. The median survival age has increased to 32, and Storm takes good care of himself.

His new goal, he said, "is to live long enough to cash in my 401(k) plan."

October 10, 2001
Here's a spiff picture of

Here's a spiff picture of the guitar I bought on Sunday. Ain't it perty?

I now have 3 guitars, and can't play a lick.

We won!! We won!! 2

We won!! We won!! 2 out of 3! Volleyball, you nit.

Yeah, the first match of Team Bar's fall season was a blast. We played hard, we played well, and we won 2 out of 3 games. Did I mention that already? Anyway, the boring details are, well, boring, so I'll spare you. It's volleyball, you know how it works. Some of us showed up early to watch Team Foo's games too, and they won 2 out of 3 too, so it looks like we were placed in the right divisions, and we'll have a nice competitive season. Oh damn, there go those boring details.

One beer at the bar and I extricated myself successfully. Of course this hasn't translated to my getting to bed early.

Shit, do I really have this little to say lately?

October 9, 2001
Substitute 'damn' every time you're

Substitute 'damn' every time
you're inclined to write 'very';
your editor will delete it and
the writing will be just as it
should be.
-- Mark Twain

I think I might try this, and it could work, except for the fact that I don't have, nor need, an editor. But I like to say 'damn', and I hate writing 'very'. It's damn irritating.

(credit where due, i swiped the quote from marshall's email sig, but you know, he swiped it from mark's)

I'm a super-slacker lately on

I'm a super-slacker lately on the core dumping. And doing it way too late at night doesn't help at all. It's just drivel. Here it comes...

Weekend. Saturday I spent solo, hanging around in Brooklyn. Went for a long walk, pretended to write, pretended to read. I ran into Colin, Dave's friend, and we pretended to be funny. I bought new guitar strings.

Sunday I bought a new guitar. I ate at Chelsea Commons twice.

Monday was a big day: Layoffs. We all knew it was coming, and goddamn I really hoped it would be me. But it wasn't. Nobody particularly close to me, but some good people. Melissa Chua, Carrie, Alec, Patti. Patti was very upset, it's a shame to layoff the people who really and truly love their jobs. There's plenty of us there who really couldn't care less, but we get to stay. In a way, the stressful week is over and now we know. But in another way, I'm still there, and will be for the foreseeable future. At least I didn't lose any very close friends.

Of course layoffs require drinking, so everyone went out after work. I didn't stay long, went to the Bowery Ballroom with Julie and Alec to see the Fab Faux. Now, I know I rave about bands from time to time, but anyone who passed this up, you shouldn't have. This was a pinnacle musical experience, unmatched in quite some time. They play Beatles covers, and I know that sounds mundane, but it's not. The Beatles wrote some amazing songs, and these guys just nail them. The energy was right up there, as high as it can be. Tomorrow is John Lennon's birthday, and they played several of his solo songs too. But it was "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" that really blew me away. And so many others. Truly beautiful. It was a perfect night for the peace and love music, I think it's making a comeback. We need it around here.

Speaking of... It appears we're really at war now and fuck if I'm not terrified. Actually, I'm not walking around shaking, not living in fear, it's more like I'm living in denial, but I'm not sure which is worse. I never thought I'd seriously have to consider if I should carry a gas mask around with me, or if I should ride in the end cars on the subway so I can escape onto the tracks more easily. I'm considering it.

October 6, 2001
This might have a lot

This might have a lot of typos.

Slept through my stop tonight. Woke up at 18th Avenue, 4 stops past mine. Farther than I've ever gone by accident. There was a guy there, on the opposite platform once I crossed over, he was Jewish and talkative. He first asked me what time it was, then told me he was a little bit psychic.

He asked me if I had one sister or two. I told him I had one, and one brother. We went on to discover that I had a brother who had died, and his first question was whether it had been in the World Trade Center. I said no, he had died long ago, when he was a small child and before I was born. He asked me where I lived and when I told him near the park, he said "a lot of bombs there" and I said "what?" and he said "a lot of arabs with bombs" and I said "not so far". I wonder if that was enough.

I told him everything in 5 minutes; that I had one brother, older, and one sister, younger. And that she felt a little guilty that she lived while my dead brother didn't, since she was the last and maybe wouldn't have been born if he hadn't have died. It's silly, but something she thinks about. The man said "it's hard. so hard." and I nodded. Right as the train came he asked me if I was Jewish and I said I was half. He said "Your father?" and I said yes. He seemed to feel validated.

Strange night. Resolve to do something about it. Before I miss my chance.

October 5, 2001
I rode the subway this

I rode the subway this morning with someone from work (I won't say who), but I pretended I didn't see them because I was trying to read. It wasn't someone I know very well, but we have a nodding acquaintance and if I had said hi, it might have been awkward like we would have felt the need to make small talk. I'm sure that he/she saw me, but I'm pretty sure she/he didn't know I knew that he/she knew who I was.

Funny story:
My friend Erik (names may have been changed to protect the innocent) in Alaska is at home this morning and all these people start knocking on his door, asking him about the sale. He has no clue what they're talking about and, get this, he's wearing a turtleneck. It turns out that there's an ad in the newspaper that reads as follows:

49 Yrs! Everything must go!
Beds, furniture, housewares, clothing, books, jewelry.
12th Ave & P St. 8am-5pm, Fri & Sat.

Erik lives at 12th Ave and P St, but he's not having a sale. If Erik had any enemies, I'd say it was a great prank, but it must just be a mistake. Next time it happens, though, he'll know who did it: Me.

He doesn't think it's nearly as funny as I do.

I must have the best

I must have the best parents in the world.

I've spent probably 3 hours on two occasions on the phone with the two of them this week, just babbling like an idiot, and they're always supportive, sensitive, attentive, and other good adjectives. And they make me feel like I'm not crazy.
They probably think I talk too much though. A bit over-analytical. I probably agree with them. You probably do too. Gimme something, anything, I'll analyze it into oblivion. Try me.

I found this piece to be very sad, yet very insightful.

There is something gripping this town, I think. People are tense, scared. The initial shock and coming together has ended and now people are acting normal but not feeling normal. It's not normal. So many people in the world live in this kind of fear, and much much worse, everyday. Maybe that's why their priorities are a little more sane than ours often seem(ed) to be.

October 4, 2001
There are a handful of

There are a handful of movies that I know of that are incredibly inspiring to me. It's harder for a movie I think than for, say, music. Music is more flexible, open to interpretation. The same piece of music can mean absolutely nothing to me at one time and be a religious experience at another. Movies are more about telling a story, though, and it's generally pretty clear what that story is. Maybe that's not true. Who's to say, really?
So, in no particular order, the following movies move me tremendously: The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, Harold and Maude, To Live, It's a Wonderful Life. Those jump to mind. And they're all about the same thing. The message in all 5 of those is simple and clear and beautiful.

Anyway, that's all. Sometimes watching one of those movies can make me reexamine everything I'm doing and come to some startling conclusions; sometimes reinforce things I already know. And knowing is half the battle. Or at least a third.

October 3, 2001
I wish things were like

I wish things were like this:

my wary one, it's far too late
to unlove each other. Instead let's cook
something elaborate and not
invite anyone to share it but eat it
all up very slowly.

-William Matthews from Misgivings. Reprinted without premission.

October 2, 2001
I'm the man on the

I'm the man on the mountain, won't you come on up?

Suddenly all of my headphones are failing. Massive headphone failure. Must be some kind of virus.

After work I went to the park across the street. It's not much of a park, really. It's a lot of concrete with iron chairs bolted to it, and a circle of grass in the middle. It's jammed right between 10th Ave and the West Side Highway, so it's sort like sitting on a median strip. But hey, it's grass. We take what we can get.

The sky was my favorite color. My favorite color for skies, anyway. Today, anyway. It was a very fall sky. It's getting colder, and it was crystal clear, not a cloud in sight. About half an hour after the sun sets, the sky turns this orange color, very pale, that has always reminded me of sherbet. (I looked it up, but that still doesn't look like the right way to spell sherbet. I'm not even sure how you pronounce it.) The sky, right at the horizon, is that color and then it blends to deep blue overhead completely seemlessly. I don't think the sky did that in Seattle, it seems like a home thing. I sat and read, watching the light fade imperceptibly, and it was pretty nice. I still would have liked to have gone for a nice walk on the water with someone, it was the perfect night for it.

Okay, found temporary solution to the headphone crisis. Out.

This article by the editor

This article by the editor of salon.com is very good. I'd go into why I agree with it, what he says, and so on, but I'm too tired. Read it, you lazy bums. Tell me what you think for a change. Heh.

Volleyball last night was great. We played well, hussled and all that good sporty stuff. We came pretty close to winning a game! It was just nice to be on a more cohesive team, playing well, and with potential to have a lot of fun, competitive games this fall. Looking forward to it.

Things at the office are tense. Budget meetings, woeful revenue projections after the events of Sept 11, and heads are hung low. I'm sure more people are wearing turtlenecks. We're supposed to just act like everything's normal and go on with our work until they decide to break the news, but that seems a bit unrealistic. This could really shake things up, whether I'm on the receiving end or not. Even if I'm not, I will be. I'd like to officially label the period of September/October, 2001 as "hell". From this moment forth, let it be so named.

Then again, might be just the thing. Like Mom's apple pie.

October 1, 2001
harumph. Weekend: Saturday started with


Saturday started with some rain and cold, but we got going onthe volleyball anyway. Dave and Cass showed up, too. They, Joel and I had to leave around 2:30 to make it down to Eric's around 4.
Saturday evening we spent at Eric's place in Fanwood with Eric, Patti, Thane and Liz. It's always great to see all of those people, it's just too bad Paul couldn't make it. We had some drinks, cooked some burgers, played some football, played some games. As the evening wore on, we started playing music, which is my favorite thing about these people. Well, maybe that's overstating, but it's beautiful nonetheless. Everytime we get together we end up singing and playing guitars. We all crowd into Eric's dining room and start jamming. I can't play shit, but I'm content to sing while Eric and Thane play and Dave noodles around. It's a wonderful feeling and reminds me of the joy of music, and good friends. Jeez, I sound like a beer commercial.

Sunday morning we woke up early and Joel and I took the train back to the city. We walked up to Central Park talking and met up with Ilio, Luke & co for touch football. It started raining, but we played on, eventually getting kicked off of the gras into a small mud pit. It was a lot of fun and I'm pretty sore.

There was definitely a touch of melancholia in the air yesterday for me, though. I feel lousy about Denyse, but I don't really know that there's anything I can do about it.

Saturday night, after most people left or went to bed, Eric, Dave, Joel and I stayed up, cooked some more burgers, and talked. We talked about relationships, world politics, life philosophies, all kinds of stuff. I miss those guys, those times. Playing music, talking with great people well into the night. I'm very happy that Dave is in town. Maybe I should move to his neighborhood.

Those are the facts. I'm not feeling elaborative. (I think I made that word up)