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June 26, 2002
Twice on the way back

Twice on the way back from DC, we paid the toll for the car behind us. Neither driver caught up with us to say thanks, though we think one of them might have passed and sort of looked sideways at us, it was hard to tell because Liz wouldn't make eye contact with them. I thought she might have looked, if it was a woman, but I can't say for sure. It was hard to tell; it was 2:30 in the morning, we were drunk and we were in love.

At least I was in love. I'm sure she was too, but I don't wan't to be presumptuous. The truth of it is, it's so hot I want to lay in a bathtub full of ice cubes and forget the whole thing. It's so steamy in here, I think I can actually see the steam. It's fogging up my glasses. I had to check to make sure the oven hadn't been left on. My temples are throbbing, the beer isn't cold, only one nostril is working.

In a few minutes I'll go back to the living room. I rutned on the AC in there and closed all the doors. It's the only semi-sealable area in this place, but the little air conditioner isn't powerful enough to really cool the whole place. After a few hours, it's a few degrees cooler in there. In here, it's suffocating.

Maybe a fresh beer....

Hey, not bad. It's sort of cold. I don't think our refrigerator works very well. Maybe I should move North, where the beer is always cold and the women always listen to their mothers. Or don't listen to them. Or something.

I've been reading The Botany of Desire; it's good. I just started the chapter on marijuana, though, and it threatened to put me into a rage. Did you realize that in Oklahoma, growing any amount of marijuana, any amount, qualifies you for a life sentence? Is that the most unbelievable thing you've ever heard? Well, no, there are thousands of equally unbelievable things and acts, but this is the one I'm talking about now. We have mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana users, where a judge and jury have no descretion in sentencing, but no such thing for murderers or rapists. Murderers and rapists get their parole early so we can make room for the potheads. This for a drug that in universally regarded as less physically harmful, and certainly less addictive, than alcohol. Ooooh, it burns me up. I guess I should probably seek to do something about it, rather than whine to nobody, and so should you. We all should. The war of drugs could be one of the nastiest things ever perpetrated on a society, or by a society. Other disasters of humankind - nuclear weapons, nazis, Barry Manilow - are more obvious, sure, but this one is more insidious. It's srength is in its subtlty.

So, you know, write your Congressperson. Join NORML, do something.

One of the most terrifying things I know of, really, is that there is a certain element of fear, more than there used to be, I'm sure, involved in even writing about this stuff online. Now THAT'S something to write to Congress about. Even better, become Congress about.

--later that night--

One of the spontaneous comments of a contestant on American Idol, a truly extraordinary show, about his experience thus far in "the process", while driving his Ford Focus (link withheld), in a segment called, ahem, "Focus on the competitors": "I'm just loving driving this car. My brother has one of these, and he won't let me drive it. Eat your heart out, bro."

I had to share that.

June 24, 2002
It's hot as hell here

It's hot as hell here in my corporate row, so I'm protesting by blogging at work. My brain is nearly fully cooked. More likely, I'm just trying to kill the next 21 minutes so I can get the hell out of here; home to my probably a lot hotter apartment with my definitely a lot hotter girlfriend.

Anyway, it was about time for an update, eh? And such stories I have to tell. My stars.

Leen and Paul arrived Monday night, and Paul and I stayed up until about 4 playing video games. It was nice to have a guy in the house, someone to watch Sportscenter with or play snowboarding. I'm totally bored of those games, but they're different with company. Tuesday I worked a little bit and then we all set off for Radio City to see Trey. We met up with Dave and some friends of Paul's, and off we went. Radio City is always a nice experience, regardless of the show. The place is so grand and beautiful. I love the concentric arches in the ceiling, all red and orange. It's like a frozen sunset.

Liz and I made it down to our seats in about the 6th row, and then did the old 2-for-1 to get Dave down there too. The show opened and I've never seen Trey so exuberant. He was jumping all over the stage, smiling and laughing. What an amazing thing it must be to love your job that much. I'm feeling a bit distant from that feeling just now.

Overall, I didn't get too into the show at Radio City. I thought the sound up front was too loud and blare-y, making it hard to pick out the instruments clearly. It was obvious that the band was having a blast, and that's great, but for me it wasn't always the best stuff to listen to. In the end, though, this is why I love Phish, Trey and all manner of improvisational music: They take risks, don't play to a formula, and put themselves out there fully. Sometimes it doesn't pay off for some people, but that's the game and it's a good one. It would be a thrill for a little while to hear them play the songs right from the album, to know all the words and all the chords, but I'd get bored pretty fast.

Despite it not being one of my top 10 musical experiences, I still had a great time, danced and sang and whooped a bit. Towards the end of the show, the pace matched my mood a little more when as they played Ether Sunday, At the Gazebo (with four members of the Vermont Youth Orchestra) and then had a giant Carnival party for an encore. Capoeira dancers (practitioners?), show girls, drummers, a whole gang of people all over the stage. They marched right off the stage and apparently had an impromptu block party on 53rd St for 10 minutes or so. We missed that part.

Skipping ahead, Friday evening we headed down to Baltimore, had crabs and beer with the family, then Saturday went to see, and ride, the real Thomas the Tank Engine. He was very useful. It was quite a scene down there, like a Dead show for toddlers. They were all freaking out.

Saturday evening it was off to Merriweather, one of my favorite venues around here. I've always had good luck with Merriweather. It's a beautiful spot, in the woods, with a pavilion designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the sound is always great, and there's nothing like an outdoor summer concert. The security was a little ridiculous at the gates (disturbing trend), but once we were inside, we never saw them again.

Anyway, this show kicked ass. It was just what I was looking for on a nice summer evening; the band smoked, the weather was great, and I was with my favorite people in the world. I couldn't have asked for anything more. It was bliss. The show rocked full ahead all night, then closed with Push On Till The Day, the same song that opened Radio City, and one of my favorites. Perfect bookends for a great couple of days.

We spent the night at Dave and Cass' new place in Arlington, went to DC on Sunday, the Holocaust Museum, American History, the pool, Mexican food, margaritas. We dragged ourselves away at about 10:45, arriving in Brooklyn 4 1/2 hours later.

Them's the facts. Opinions come later. Three minutes.

June 17, 2002
Weekend of sloth. I stayed

Weekend of sloth. I stayed home this weekend, for the first time in a while, at least since last weekend. It comes in cycles. Did get plenty of work done on my secret project, though, so that's coming along. It'll probably be at least another week. Maybe longer.

It's funny that people are having little conversations in my comments. Don't you think? I laughed and laughed and laughed.

If anyone's looking for a spiffy dry suit, I'm selling one on eBay. Snatch it up, I'll give you a good deal.

There was some thought about nuclear destruction after seeing The Sum of All Fears on Friday, but it passed. Also there was the Asylum Street Spankers on Thursday and Michael Pemberton and Number 7 (featuring Alec Berlin) on Friday night, both worth discussing, but I won't.

Instead I'll leave you with this fascinating tidbit. In 24 hours, I peed 1250 milliliters. I'm not sure if that's normal, too little, or too much, but considering they gave me a 3 liter jug, I think it's a little on the light side. I did my best.

June 11, 2002
Must blog. Must blog. Must

Must blog. Must blog. Must blog.

Why? I have no idea.

Okay, weekend: Saturday spent alone, sleeping in and watching the rest of Empire Strikes Back. I was trying to watch it critically, to see if my perception of the two most recent Star Wars movies was more about context, age, societal constructs, and other such nonsense, or was really about them being just amazingly crappy movies. As it turns out, they really suck. And the first three really didn't. Empire, at least, was a good movie. Shit, even the special effects seemed more believable. There were, gasp, actually characters!! They seemed to have some kind of personality, and I actually sort of cared about what happened to them, even after seeing it about a zillion times. Not so for Episodes I and II. I don't even remember who the characters were.

So, thinly disguising it as a sociological study with a toe stuck in film criticism, I sat on my ass on Saturday.

Sunday we went down to Point Pleasant, New Jersey to play in our first ever beach doubles tournament. Liz and I played as a team in the B Division, the lowest, and Matt and Celinda joined us as another team. We had a good time but didn't win any games. We played well, though, and I think we'll stick with each other as partners. Seems like we get along pretty well and communicate effectively. We have complimentary playing styles, one might say, and we've seen each other naked countless times. All the makings of a great team.

That's it. This week at work I'm working, still, on the Yoga on Demand project, an interesting yet boring task. I like it because it's mostly mine and it's different from pretty much everything else at Oxygen, but the work itself can be pretty tedious. That's work for ya.

My latest non-work-related-project is coming along too. In the spirit of consistency, and so I can pretend that anyone cares, I'm not telling what it is. This one could take a couple of months.

June 8, 2002
Sometimes I feel like my

Sometimes I feel like my glasses make me see worse. Not exactly worse, but when I wipe them and they get a slight film on them, it feels like looking through a fog.

I had my first ever professional massage tonight, finally cashed in a year-old gift certificate. I've never been much attracted to the idea of massages. Don't get me wrong I love massages in a certain way, and in a certain context, but I never thought of it as something to pay for, with a stranger. I've probably just always associated it with sex, and this is a different approach, and with a man too. Craig. Good old Craig. Popped my cherry.

The whole place seems like they only begrudgingly allow men anywhere near the place. All incense, dim lighting, ghastly waterfall music, and aromatic oils. Tea, lemon in the water pitcher, big fluffy robes. It goes on and on. If I designed a massage place it would be like a NFL training room, with those giant steel tubs with an outboard motor hanging off the side. Big sweaty guys chomping cigars giving a good old fashioned rub down. Linseed oil, liquid heat, varnish, the whole thing.

Wow, all of a sudden that doesn't sound so good either. See what I mean? It's best to just stay away from the whole endeavor.

Truth be told, Craig did a fine job. He also told me I had "good muscle tone," "Do you work out?," he said, and that I had "athletic calves." How do you like that? I thought it was nice of him to say so, especially while explaining how important it is to him to "protect his license". When I asked what he meant by that, he said, "Well, I wouldn't do anything improper. It's all about the client being relaxed. You'd be amazed at what some people will ask for, really, men and women."

At the time it honestly did not occur to me that this could be a subtle opening for me to make a proposition, but now that I've written it down, I feel kind of dirty. It could really go either way, there's nothing inherently indictable about what he said, but it clearly could be interpreted in two ways. They must teach that in massage school. "How to be a hooker without actually saying anything 101". If it had been a woman, it probably would have been easier to detect. I've always been a bit slow on the uptake when guys hit on me.

It's probably a good thing it was a guy though, and an unattractive one at that, I was having a hard enough time mentally dealing with the possibility of an unintended boner while trying not to fart. Just like yoga. I should probably stay away from the New Age Arts. NAA, I think they like to be called. Shit, he mentioned Tantra too!! That slut.

It really can be a curse, that whole visible sign of stimulation men have to deal with. They talk about how much time we spend in our lives watching teevee, sleeping, pooping, what about woody shame? How many terrified minutes did I spend in elementary school desperately trying to get rid of a hard-on while the teacher called people up to the blackboard on by one? Oh the horror.

Time for donuts.

June 3, 2002
Looks like I'll live. Had

Looks like I'll live. Had a checkup today, I'm doing oooookay, in case you were wondering.

It's a strange experience to go to the doctor with no specific complaint. He asked me a bunch of rapid-fire questions, "Still a test engineer? Getting any exercise? Still not smoking? What about alcohol? How's that knee infection, all cleared up? Caffeine?" I answered mostly honestly. Then he started looking in various orifices, each for about an eighth of a second, and said "good" after each one. I guess that means nothing reached out and bit his little light. I can't imagine what he's expecting to see. Ear 1, check. Ear 2, check. Back of throat, check. I could have had three Oreos in there and he wouldn't have noticed with a split second glance. He's the doctor, though, right? He knows what he's doing. It's not likely that he's seen so many people, so many throats, that he's not even really paying attention anymore. Maybe I'll try to throw him off next time. I could get some special effects goop and make a polyp on my colon or something. (I'm kidding. I was spared the dreaded finger this time. Though he did check my balls, always a favorite.)

In the end, it's nice to feel like everything's working okay, even if it's a pretty cursory check. Nothing made him go "hmmmm" or call in a colleague to see, so I should be thankful. And I've only gained 1 pound in the last year.

After met Liz at City Hall and we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (pictures), and had dinner at Grimaldi's, the best pizza in town. That's it, I'm done.

June 2, 2002
Weekend Update: with Me, me,

Weekend Update: with Me, me, me. And about me, me, me. And Liz. And maybe some stuff about Roo.

I don't often write Roo's name, or type it, and it looks kind of funny. When I say it, in my head it's not spelled that way. It looks silly, Roo. Also reminds me of kangaroo, and Winnie-the-Pooh, neither of which do I ever think of when I think of Roo the cat. Maybe it should be spelled Rue, since that's the emotion he most often inspires.

Enough about the cat. Lately I've been very much wanting a dog. I miss having a dog, and I'm noticing them on the street much more often, and cooing at them like an idiot. Maybe it's just a precursor to wanting kids. I've wanted kids, abstractly, for a long time, but maybe when the urge wells up a little, I take it out on dogs. The problem with dogs and cats though, is that they only grow up a little. You get them when they're tiny and adorable, and then they get bigger and slightly less adorable, and often fat and boring. Their personalities don't really change after a year or two. Kids, on the other hand, start out, well, cute if you're lucky, but then they grow and grow and grow. I've been fascinated watching the changes in my niece and nephew, and I only see them a few times a year. Imagine the changes that you'd see every day. I'm most interested in watching a kid learn how to talk. Other than the more primal urge to reproduce, curiosity is right up there on my list of reasons to have kids. I imagine there are thousands of things you can only learn by being directly involved in the raising of another human. Certainly it would give me something to talk about in this blog.

Stayed home from work on Firday and actually got one or two things done. I often think it's just an excuse when I say that my job takes up so much of my time that I never get to do the things I really want to do, but really, when I get a "free" day like that, things happen. I ported this here blog to movable type, as previously mentioned, and finally made some progress on the music recording thing. I actually recorded a song!! I'm not quite up to posting it here, though, it needs a little work. It's a start though, and it was a good test of the all the gizmos and software. I just have to figure all that stuff out fairly well so I can focus on the music, man. It's got to be about the music, man.

Saturday we cleaned the apartment somewhat, and then went for a bike ride. We rode to Coney Island, rode the Cyclone, hit some balls (okay, swung at some balls) at the batting cages, and drove go-karts. Miraculously, our bikes were still there when we got back, so we continued up the Shore Parkway trail, under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, up along the coast of Brooklyn and then back through various neighborhoods to Prospect Park. It was a gorgeous and fun day. The diversity of the nieghborhoods you ride through in this town is staggering, and it spurred equally diverse and interesting thoughts and conversations, from religion to architecture, engineering, fishing, culture, and of course, etc.

Today we were going to play volleyball in the park, but no one showed up, so we bumped around a little bit with Matt and then headed home to play some Super Monkey Ball, and watch the Kings lose a heartbreaker to the Lakers. I meant to put that ceiling fan up today.

Technical note: Liz pointed out the one problem with this new content management system; since it all lives locally on my server, I no longer have any off-site backup of my dumb-ass ramblings. That inspired me to finally burn my docroot to a CD. Of course that's great if my hard drive crashes, but I already have it mirrored to protect against that. If my computer is stolen, catches on fire, or I spill miso soup on it, though, I'm screwed. Well, if it's miso soup, I'll probably still be able to use the CD. So now I'm thinking I should make weekly backups to 4 CDs and mail them to 4 different PO Boxes in four different states. This would protect against theft, fire, japanese food, and most any scenario save all out war. And you know what, if there's an all out war, I think I could let them go.

June 1, 2002
Sheesh. I woke up this

Sheesh. I woke up this morning with an idea of how to fix this random quote thing. I don't really mind that it lops off the last sentence, at least I don't mind it nearly as much as having to type break tags into my entries instead of just hitting return when I want to start a new paragraph. So I woke up with an idea of how to fix that, and I've done it. The really weird thing is that now I had to lop off the first sentence of my blog to get it to work. I really don't get it, all my debugging showed no new lines anywhere in the sentences, but when it's output is written to the home page, it adds new lines. But only on the first (or the last) item in the array.

Anyway, I'm converting line breaks on this post, we'll see how it goes.

Hey, it worked. Huzzah!