(12-21 January 2004)

21 January 2004
-Well it took about 5 months, but it would seem that I am making friends in this job of mine after all.  I guess things are just more tenuous (or something) the older one gets.  Regardless, there also may (MAY) be an emerging writing community of sorts branching out from the group of folks I work with.  This would be very exciting to me, since I haven't really had a community of writers (other than a sort of abortive attempt with a couple of the Nuevo guys) since Eric Moya's "Writer's Group" at AA in 1995.  Wow.  I suppose one could count my short stint on the staff of Where the Children Play ('Deis's #2 lit mag), but I didn't enjoy the company of most of those people.  I think a writer's community has to start with some sort of enjoyment of those one is writing with/around.  The point is, things are looking up.
-I am none too surprised that Lisha dislikes my comments from the 18th about the nature of funerals.  Reading her entry from October as she requests, I see a lot of conflict.  On the one hand, she wants more emotional honesty than a particular memorial gives her, but on the other, she wants to replace it with a big party that sounds almost fall-of-Rome-era in scale.  I don't really understand how this provides an emotion that has anything to do with death or loss.  Yes, it wouldn't be a "wicked drag", but I would also feel horribly disrespectful attending & doing anything but feel sad.  (It should be noted, for the record, & before Lisha points this out anyway, that parties of the nature she describes make me feel sad on their own for other reasons.)  I think the attitude of "life going on" or greeting a loss with happiness is trying to minimize either (A) that person's impact on one's life or (B) the emotion of sadness in general.  This is where my comments about emotional honesty (letting oneself be sad & embrace sadness) & not avoiding dependencies (admitting that a person really meant something & one's life is worse off without said person) came from.  I'm truly earnestly curious to see how, in Lisha's mind, a big huge party embraces emotional honesty & dependency on other human beings, because I don't see it as yet.
-In meta-webpage notes today, I just discovered a newly emerging internet toy.  Amazon has started a meta-internet page called Alexa that seems to serve as the Nielsen ratings for the 'net.  It's easier to track web traffic than television viewership, although it seems that to be completely accurate, this project would require some hefty software.  Either way, it's lots of fun.  Currently, the BP is ranked in the top quarter-million (220,173rd) of all websites in cyberspace.  No doubt the Country Quiz is the only thing keeping me close to the map.

20 January 2004
-Exit parents.  The road to San Jose was remarkably clear & now I'm back home before I usually wake up for work.  Feeling trepid about said task, but what is to be done?
-Have to figure out the top five movies of the year so I can put up a year-in-review page.  The books are done, but I'm not going to post them till they have a front page.  A hallmark of the 2001 & 2002 pages is that I declared each the best year of my life to that point.  Not surprisingly, 2003 became the 3rd consecutive year to eclipse the prior two.  Setting my concerns about what I used to call "Mack truck time" aside, I'm a little concerned that I'm starting to sound like an annoying blanket optimist who sees the future as unending upward spiral for all humanity.  I guess anyone who thinks that will quickly realize otherwise when they take a gander at the 5-6 years of archives assembled elsewhere at the Blue Pyramid...
-Just did a run of other people's webpages, & have some comments:  (1) It appears that I owe Jordan Segal an apology, on the condition that he admit that he is very confusing & seems to waver politically.  Of course, others probably think the same of me.  After re-reading his entry on progressive taxes without thinking of him as a pseudo-libertarian (which he has claimed to be in the past), I find there is nothing which objects to progressive taxation.  So I misread him, then commented on such, which I shouldn't have done.  But I never know exactly what to think he's thinking... he seems so conservative most of the time!  (2) Adam Unikowsky has posted an interesting poll on his page, the latest SelectSmart to make the rounds.  Not surprisingly in the least, Kant finished as top philosopher in my world with a 100% match.  Prescriptivism (91%) & JSMill (81%) were the only others to top a two-thirds match, with Nietzsche (9%), Hobbes (8%), & Hume (5%) finding me as an antithesis.  I was a bit surprised that Aquinas (#4, 65%) was so low, & [shudder] Ayn Rand (#9, 48%) so high.  But Unikowsky's results lead me to believe that this quiz is written by the Society for the Promotion of Ayn Rand (or NYU for short).  (3) Sep's page still sends my internet connection into convulsions.  Maybe my new computer (ETA:  within the week) will have something to say about this problem.

19 January 2004
-Back to work.  & this coming weekend will feature a 39-hour period in which I work 30 hours.  Back-to-back 15's will be a new one.
-Good days at work have a habit of getting really bad at bedtime.  We've got to keep on eye on that.

18 January 2004
-Just returned from some of the most draining time I've spent in months & months.  Drew Gashler's memorial service was beautiful & filled with heartfelt testimony about his impressive life.  For me, not knowing him directly other than meeting him on a day which was a little busy for me, it was great to hear what he was really like.  It seemed that he came alive in the room.  I was initially trepid at the characterization of the ceremony as "a celebration" since it hinted at the revelry of a wake or similarly anti-sadness oriented honoring of the dead.  It seems that a rising trend among people is to not want their funeral proceedings to revolve around sadness or a sense of loss.  This I find extremely troubling, part of the increasing belief in emotional dishonesty & shielding oneself from admitting dependencies.  Funerals & the like give people the rare opportunity to burst forth in sadness publicly, to vent grief somewhere outside of a locked & hidden room.  Despite the label, this celebration maintained the opportunity for people to feel, hold, & express their grief in an emotionally honest way.  They had a chance to show their sadness.  & for that reason, & the eloquence of those honoring Drew, it was sadly beautiful.

17 January 2004
-Exit Fish, enter parents.  It's like 2 weeks ago all over again.
-My Dad really loves the city of Berkeley, despite all its changes.  Who could blame him?
-"21 Grams" is a truly realistic portrayal.  Not as much of the film focused on the "fact" about everyone losing 21 grams at the exact moment of their death (a most interesting reality, no?), but the movie still had enough to say.  I'm not sure I agree with all it had to say, but I certainly don't disagree with it as much as some...
-What if everything were in walking distance?

16 January 2004
-Fish is in town for his interview, which we were able to make in better time than anticipated.  Now till Tuesday to find out.
-Or not... he got the job!  Fish is moving to the Bay within the month!  ...and there was much rejoicing!!
-Fish's other local friends (Skipper & Alyssa, of New Year's '03 trip fame) weren't quite as excited as I'd expected.  But once we started talking about a regular poker night (we have more than 3 people interested now) & other such things, the joy began to build.  Personally, I'm just pumped.

15 January 2004
-Cleaned up the entire house today, which was quite an accomplishment given its prior state.  It's not often that I get the motivation to simply get every square inch of things picked up, but when I do, it's an exhaustive reality.  It doesn't exactly sparkle here, but it's close.
-Finally saw the wedding video also, though we've had it for a little bit of time.  The entire rehearsal was caught on tape, as well as some peoples' (mostly Em's family) pre-wedding wishes for us.  A very sweet video, & nicely filmed by Paul IV!  If nothing else, I can embarrass Fish with his toast!

14 January 2004
-Simply crashed after the meetings this morn.  Even though I usually have lots of energy for the Wednesday meeting, the week has caught up with me by the end.  If nothing else, I got the time off I need straightened out so I can attend my cousin's fiancee's memorial on Sunday.

13 January 2004
-Truly horrible dreams last night, & lots of them.  I've been so sore that it's difficult to get up & move around, but sleeping this much is not the right answer to said problem.  Bah.
-Apparently eCampus is the cheapest place to buy my book these days.
-Starting today, every time that I try to open Sep's page, Explorer shuts down.  I'm still able to read the page, but the error message insists on closing everything when I accept its presence.  Anyone know why this is happening?  This makes me sad, because I like Sep's page & even moreso now that he's defending increased progressive income tax.  Maybe some nefarious anti-taxation brigade (Amy & Segal, I'm looking at you...) is behind these error messages.  Heh.
-& while I'm on the subject, though I like increasing the progressive income tax (we still need to close loopholes, but it's a start), I'm not saying I'm liking Dean.  & not for the stupid reasons that Lisha discusses either.  You've still got to convince me that he has more backbone to his politics than, say, Bill Richardson (the current Nuevo governor & sell-out extraordinaire who is responsible for an enormous amount of my political cynicism).  His spinelessness on the war is obviously my biggest complaint, as his anti-war rhetoric disappeared when the war began & only resurfaced after major combat was over & the real casualties began.  His flip-flopping on campaign finance is also of concern.  & where he doesn't flip-flop, he's often just straight-up wrong, see his views on guns, for example.  I am convinced he would be better than Bush, however, which is something that I can't say about Wesley Clark (see prior posts for this analysis).  But Kucinich or the Green Party are really the only people I could hope to relate to in any meaningful way.  Inasmuch as I could ever relate to an American politician, but you get the idea...  It's not like I have a social contract here anyway.

12 January 2004
-Weary & sore.  Unsure of today.  But I guess one is really unsure of every day, so though it seems different, it isn't.  Uncertainty is the watchword of life, but seems to be on a placard this morning.
-Not such a bad day, especially when compared to the recent past.  It's always good to start work again with a really challenging day.  Everything after that makes the job seem easy again.

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