Peace Train
(8-17 December 2002)

17 December 2002
-Brandzy's in town & seems to be moving on in to our apartment.  Though he's allergic to cats, it looks like he'll be able to feed/water/catbox for Pando, which is a great relief.  Meanwhile, he's writing a 25-page paper on our computer since his was stolen at the 'Deis.  & by writing, I mean procrastinating like all get-out.  Good catching up with him though.
-Driving in Berkeley makes me weary.  But mainly, driving makes me much more weary than it used to because I have a daily commute.  Bleh.
-Hard days at PIRG are really very hard.

16 December 2002
-Suddenly it seems like there's very little time left in Berkeley & still a decent amount to get done.  But then again, it's a pretty standard trip.  I just really hope it doesn't rain on the camping end of things.
-I was someone's good deed today in the post office parking lot.  The Kia's left rear tire was in deep trouble, & though I had just looked at it & deemed it just barely drivable, this man informed me (after getting me to roll down my window before I drove away) that it was not drivable & in fact demanded immediate attention at the next gas station.  He was very right.  Then I realized that I hadn't put air in tires since I was driving the Buick around, which was quite a realization.  The Kia needs slightly less maintenance, being 48 years younger.  Nevertheless, while discovering the appropriate tire pressure on the back of the owner's manual, I also saw for the first time that I have a 15.8 gallon tank.  All these years, I've thought I had a barely-over-14-gallon tank, & have only worried about gas at 13.5 gallons or so for a fill-up.  I am vindicated!  I always have TONS of gas left!  Haha!  I wonder how far I can push things now...
-Went to SF with Ariela & Stina for a bit before work, which was great fun till it started raining yet again.  Went to Chinatown for the first time (for me) since 1996, ate at a restaurant where we did everything wrong, & had great hilarity.  The roll of film shot today at these events though may well be priceless.
-From the Holy Spanqruel Department today, I was driving the Kia up to work when Radio Alice 97.3 did their morning show commercial blip where they replay a recent dialogue from said show.  Apparently this morning they discussed the UPenn debate tourney debacle of this year, involving a Princeton student (we all know who, but the media isn't leaking it I guess) & motor oil & drunken buffoons.  Who knew that this would be APDA's biggest claim to national media fame?  Move over Hecker's plan to put rounds on C-SPAN, it's frat guys vs. debaters that gets us in the news.  A sad sordid reality.  But I'm glad the story is getting press, & I'm glad the guys are getting charged & for heaven's sake, if CNN & Radio Alice are talking about it, the APDA public sure as hell can too.
-Also, in a follow-up, I didn't break my toe the other day.  Just badly bruised it.  Then I pulled something in my quad from limping, then pulled my groin from the limping resulting from THAT, & my body's just about back to normal today.  Silly over-connected body that falls like dominoes when something starts hurting.

15 December 2002
-Completely relaxed day.  Just stayed in with the Emster & the cat.  The weather outside was frightful, the Christmas tree delightful, we played games & ate & so on.  & our next weekend day will be in Albuquerque.  Or at least getting to Albuquerque.  Life is good.

14 December 2002
-Relaxing day for me & at least more relaxed for Em.  She had to work on a Saturday, but this means we get to leave Friday as planned.  She also got to be inside the SF Patagonia store during the rainstorm, which was bad enough (or at least horizontal enough) to make our door leak.
-Pando has taken to getting in my lap while I'm playing computer games & watching the screen intently.  Or trying to bat my hand away from making the proper keystrokes.  Or both.
-Though the directions in that direction were awful, we made it to Revels & its amazing Scottish Rite Theater.  The Theater proved more exciting than the performance, though moments of the latter were excellent, highlighted by a bluelit dance of antlered beasts that seemed more Native American than Spanish (the year's appointed theme) but had an almost Russian accompanying music.  Also a tale of pears that seemed to be taken from Watership Down.  Good stuff.
-I love the train diner.  I think it's called the Claremont Diner, but to me it's the train diner & it's wonderful.  & let the record show that it IS open late (ish), till ten
every night!

13 December 2002
-An absolutely phenomenal day.  The monsoon to end all rainstorms raged outside all day, but we held out in the grand tradition of humans taking refuge in shelter, warmth, & warm liquids.  After breakfast (Sconehenge... where else?), it was time for board games, coffee/tea, & music.  Turns out that Dan (Ariela's) is really cool & everyone got along pretty darn well.  Dan also worked everyone in Boggle... I was in second place after eleven rounds, trailing by 70 (yes, seventy) points.  I at least edged out the Trivial Pursuit game.  Unfortunately Em had to work in the rain almost all day, but she did get to join us for Thai at Your Place & even more Boggle.  Life with friends, games, & coffee is what it all comes down to.  I think this will be a theme for the month.

12 December 2002
-Ariela got in last night & apparently her (quite serious) boyfriend is coming in a bit later today.  Good times.  Or, as Ariela might sing to me, "old times".  Though she has some papers to work on, but that's some old times too.
-Serves me right for getting excited about the end of an era in the cursed toe department.  The odds are looking good that I broke my left index code (a new curse?) while getting out of the shower this morning.  Unbelievable pain ensued for about 10 minutes where all I could do was swear, hold my foot, & chew on my bathrobe.  Then the pain faded a bit, which is nice, but I thought about having to ditch work for a while.  But it got better & though I still can't move the toe, I can walk (with a significant limp).  WebMD tells me that there's not a whole lot to be done about a broken toe... just time & rest & maybe tying it to another toe.  & I'm still holding out hope that it's not actually broken, just badly bruised.  The thing I worry about is that the impact of smacking it against the metal rim of the shower/tub had to go somewhere... & it didn't break the skin.  At first I was just waiting for a gush of blood because it felt like it was going to bleed, but instead it just swelled.  Anyway, I'll live, despite my first gut reaction to the contrary.
-I was going to post something about doing my best thinking in the shower & the car, because I've noticed both a lot lately.  Then stepping out of the shower made me think very different things about showers.
-The heat is on at work!  With the help of Maria (my boss), we figured out how to actually get the heat to work.  Original thoughts that there's a high command telling us when to turn the heat on turned out to be flat-out wrong.  Instead, we have a central system that we control room-to-room, with a key catch:  the heat & cooling are mutally exclusive.  So if one room in the whole building is using the air conditioning, the heat shuts off everywhere else.  & the computer lab is consistently very hot, since it has 21 computers on at all times & is the only room without windows in the whole building.  Mystery solved.  The comp lab people will have to be a little warm, because everyone else is going to riot if it's as cold tonight as it was yesterday.

11 December 2002
-I've been inordinately frustrated with things lately & it's been hard putting my finger on why.  A lot of it has to do with a 2.5-day migraine that's been an ordeal.  But there's deeper issues, mostly considering my discipline & work-related stuff & just general DOING stuff stuff.  Not sure how better to phrase it.  A lot of it's that ADO is traversing the sophomore slump that comes from not having any guarantees that people will read it, its predecessor, or any novel I ever write.  It's so hard to look life in the eye & realize how very little control one actually has over one's own destiny.  Yes, the little things can be changed & the most pivotal life decisions are usually one's own, but it stops at the really big world-impact stuff.  Obviously.  But actually realizing that how much impact my voice will have relies upon others' opinions is so daunting, & lack of confirmation from those opinions is corrosive to confidence & motivation.  What's funny is that the book (LB here; I wish I were anywhere near done with ADO) has yet to receive a flat-out rejection of any kind.  Random House didn't respond at all, but the timing of its submission (near 11 September '01) seems to indicate it was lost, damaged, or forgotten as RH stopped accepting unsolicited manuscripts in the wake of anthrax.  Then Sep's agent friend only really does genre fiction.  Finally, BkMk Press in Missouri doesn't do novels anymore, another late-breaking change.  & not surprisingly, the Tacoma people are late getting back to me.  & there will be more, many more, for a while perhaps.  I'm rambling & already felt better about this last night after a wonderful talk with Em about all this.  I just wish I had more control.  Everyone does.  Usually it ends up leading to lying & dictatorship & awful things like that, this desire for fate-decisiveness.  In me, it just might manifest itself (someday) in a publishing company that ONLY accepts unsolicited manuscripts.  Sigh.
-But Ariela gets here tonight & that's going to be great!  & she'll be here just about until it's time to head to Nuevo, so all is going to be fun.
-Bad day to forget my sweater on my way to work.  Of course every day is a bad day to forget my sweater... turns out that the command to turn on the heat comes down from a supervisory decision of what weather warrants heaters to be on.  Supervised by people who live far from here & don't actually work here.  Brilliance on a platter.  So we're all getting frostbite because someone wants to save money & is waiting for a blizzard to say we're ok to be heated.  Even though there's a thermostat in every room that gives you the illusion of control, it only works on the heat side when the heat valve comes down from far away.  My thermostat has been set at 99 degrees (the max) in silent protest for about a week.

10 December 2002
-I think me linking Phil's page has been bad for his updating, as he has failed to update since I put in the link.  Alternatively, he could just be in finals week at MIT, on the heels of hosting a tournament.  It's one or the other.
-I second Lisha's thoughts on not being in school.  Whoooee!
-So a while back I posted something about the possible healing of my so-called "cursed toe".  I probably haven't discussed this much since it's kinda gross, but it's starting to look like the curse has lifted.  My right big toe has spent years under a curse... everytime I hurt myself, it seems to center around further injuring it:  smashing the nail, stubbing, getting it infected, you name it.  But within the last couple months, the infection has run itself out & now my worries that it would ingrow as a result seem to be unfounded.  This may just be too much information for all of you, but it's cause for joy in my world.

9 December 2002
-I am the luckiest person alive.
-Guess what everybody?  You thought all that air pollution was because of big factories & industry?  Or that most of the reason it's hard to breathe is because people are smoking lethal toxins?  Wrong again!  Silly us, it was all the wood-burning fireplaces & stoves!  Not burning off crops & certainly not burning coal or oil, but fireplaces!  & forget all those cars.  Once we get the last fireplace ripped from everyone's homes, we'll be free to breathe the cleanest carbon-monoxide ever!  Only trouble is, it won't really feel like home that we retreat to in order to save our lungs, will it?
-It was very wet on the way to work & now it's even more quiet at work.
-Apparently italicizing Crack's journal was a bit premature.
-My stat-tracker (Free-Stats) was recently sold & has gotten about 100 times cooler in the wake of said transition.  Gone are the every-page pop-ups & promised features that don't deliver.  The new color-scheme is awesome & they even use flags to represent foreign hits!  If you're in the market for a free stat-tracker, I'm very impressed by the new Free-Stats.
-I've been so caught up with things lately that I forgot to actually NOTE the fact that two days ago (7 December) was the 1,000th day of Introspection!  Very exciting stuff.  I could go back & add this to that day, but that would be cheating.  So happy Day 1,002!
-In other meta-news, last week (1-7 December) broke all previous records for weekly hits here at the Blue Pyramid, with 4,766 hits in the seven days.  The prior record was somewhere around 4,300, set in early April during the release of my "May Madness" scheme for a 64-team APDA Nats tourney.  Meanwhile, I've just discovered that of Google's 1.84 million sites found under the search my crazy friend, this site is #16.  The latest Search of the Week winners were better than that one.

8 December 2002
-Happy Anniversary parents!!
-A long day today, mostly spent in Sacramento with all but one of Em's family, seeing Thomas the Tank Engine in all his glory.  Any day with trains is fun, & Paul (V) got to see his all-time (we're talking less than 3 years here) hero.  Also did the ol' gift exchange thing, which is apparently slightly more secretive than the CIA.

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