Ballad of a Thin Man
(17-26 November 2004)

26 November 2004
[from Clovis, California]
-Finally got to haul out the expansion to Settlers of Catan late last night, where Will staged a comeback win.  All six adult males in the family played & the game lasted more than a couple hours.
-Ring tables!  Not so bad after all...
-Feeling quite ill after breakfast & a shaky van ride.  But nothing much to do today, so I can't worry about it too much.
-Ah, this family & their vehicles!  & the miscommunication!  Sometimes I just have to sit on the sidelines & smile...
-We finally have tickets to Albuquerque, despite the fact that somehow airline tickets are now worth the plane's weight in gold.  We'll be heading into Nuevo on the 22nd of December & returning early on the 3rd day of 2005 (when I have to work that evening).  I'm pumped about how much time we'll have there though, as I somehow got to duck out of working any holidays at all!

25 November 2004
[from Clovis, California]
Happy Thanksgiving
-Drove down here in the middle of the night last night, when the roads were clear enough to allow a steady 75 mile-per-hour pace.  Brandzel had flown in just before & we were able to hang out a bit & talk over the election, which had been long overdue.  He & I never disagree on the baseline reality, just on what to implement on top of said reality.  Then there was much sleep, & now we're waiting for a late dinner.  Sometimes I just have to hide-out from this enormous family for a while; it's still overwhelming to me.  But Em's brought her laptop & there's wireless internet, & I've got the latest Bradbury (The Cat's Pajamas), so I'm all set.
-Lots to be thankful for as always.  2004 has been a slight dip from the three consecutive best years ever, but I can't completely say why.  It's just been too normal, too routine.  But at the same time, my routine now includes so many wonderful things (Emily, living with Fish, a useful & sometimes rewarding job) that I can't complain.  I can be upset at myself for things undone, though, & there seem to be fewer good excuses this year.  But I am blessed, & I'm well aware of it.

24 November 2004
-I don't have the energy for this job these days.  I don't know which needs more change:  my energy or this job.
-I meant to post a day or two ago about the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs List that Fish found the other day.  Fish & I promptly debated about the merits of the list for a long time as well.  I have my own suspicions about the first song being "Like a Rolling Stone" in the Rolling Stone survey, as well as #2 being by the Rolling Stones, & other references to rocks that slide along the ground being litered throughout the 500 songs.  Nevertheless, I approve of Dylan taking the top spot & of the propensity of Beatles songs throughout the list (though "Norwegian Wood" at #83 is patently ridiculous... I'm not sure it's in the top 83 Beatles songs).  There's a lot I disagree with, but it's a really fun list to peruse & sort through & debate about.
-"The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" wasn't perfect, but I needed something light to remove all the problems from my mind.  & by "remove", I mean "suspend for the very briefest of times".
-At 5:22 this afternoon, I finally found out for sure that I wouldn't be working tomorrow.  & I had thought finding out about Thanksgiving the night before would be a joke!  Ha, ha.  Anyway, I've actually now confirmed that I have lots of time off both in the next few days & around Christmas/New Year's.  This is very exciting indeed.  Even more exciting would've been finding out earlier!

23 November 2004
-As the graphic above has been illustrating, today is the 1,717th day of Introspection.  At least I'm writing something.
-Work has just been frustrating me for so many reasons... good reasons, bad reasons, & everything in between.  I still feel good about the job, but that seems to be a far cry from enjoying it.
-Emily released her second press conference on the topic of toy safety today, though the turnout was a bit lower than last year's extravaganza.  I'll link some articles on it when I can find them, though I already saw it on the CBS local news affiliate.  She's becoming quite a pro at these press conferences, & toy safety is always a fun one for folks.  Remember, everyone:  the water yo-yo may be the most dangerous invention ever!  Seriously.  The Children's Center kids in SF were very excited to see all the media, & kept asking lots of questions so a good time was had by all.

22 November 2004
-The strange, dubious passing of time.  There are times that I realize how old I am & how much time has passed out here, or in my job, or without writing, & I get literally short of breath & panicky.  I spent so much of my life convinced that I wouldn't live past my early- or mid-twenties that it's hard to imagine that I have the luxury of a fuller lifetime to get things done.  & I'm not always as convinced as I'd like to be that this is the case; it's easy to fall back into thinking that I'm wayyy behind schedule.  But as landmarks of time pass, I grow a wee bit more confident that it might all work out & give me some time to work on things.  Just planning or contemplating a long-term future is a weird phenomenon that I edited out of my perspective for so long.  Now thinking that it might be possible is overwhelming.  Either way, being honest with myself, I'm still behind schedule, whether I have 80 years left or 1.

21 November 2004
-Today was a great day for a 15-hour Sunday, even if I forgot to eat anything more than a bowl of Trix & 2 small bags of chips.  Silly staff, Trix are for kids!  Ultimately everything was running smoothly throughout & it seems the team is not only salvaged, but sailing.  Good times.
-"He cursed himself, & his instinct to nurse every idea to health, & all of the falls that he'd spent, trying to coax his name from the mouths of success.  He thought once I shed the whole of me, once I shed the whole of me, then I'll be smiling.  Litter me with small awarenesses..."

20 November 2004
-Slowly getting some discipline?  Nah, I ought not be silly!
-I've been meaning to discuss for a while how the process of waiting for people to pull out of spaces in parking lots makes everyone suffer.  Come to think about it, I may already have posted about this.  I feel like I've become particularly scatter-brained in the past few weeks.  Either way, I've spent a lot of time lately backed up in parking lots (especially the one by the Lake Merritt Albertson's & The Burrito Shop) because people are all driving exceedingly slowly & waiting for someone who is still 20 feet from their car to come, unload their groceries into it, & back out, emptying their spot.  The trouble is that in that time, they could've found 3 other parking spots & walked halfway to the store already.  Meanwhile, four or five cars are backed up behind them, all of which (aside from me, it seems) will do the exact same thing.  I feel like I should consolidate all my road rage into a five- or ten-step guide into why people are unable to drive properly.
-Speaking of web projects, did some preliminary field work on The Animal Quiz.  I'm partly inspired by Em's reporting that someone she met at Boston training recognized my name as being associated with the BP Quizzes & then treated Em like some sort of celebrity because of how much time she & her friends had spent perusing said quizzes.  I know the quizzes have been taken a lot, but someone who never knew me remembering my name is kinda nifty.
-I also ordered the debate tourneys from the other project idea, but I'm still fiddling with the order a bit.  It could be a while.
-Notes for the week... DONE?!  This is a new & different avenue...
-Of Love and Other Demons is almost certainly the best Garcia Marquez book I've read yet, but it still leaves me with an uncertain taste in my mouth.  Like so many of the books I've read this year, I just don't know what to make of it.

19 November 2004
Happy Birthday to Paul Garin IV
-Re-enter Emily!  She even brought a Dunkin' Donut back from the Beans.
-Em's insisting that the picture now gracing the top of this page was taken by her, with arm outstretched to shoot the self-&-co. portrait.  I seem to recall someone at the JellyBelly Factory stopping us & volunteering to take the photo of us.  The world may never know.

18 November 2004
-Fish & I were musing about what percentage of total mileage logged in the USA is logged by commercial trucking.  My estimate was around 33%; he put it well below 20%.  Any ideas?  Thoughts on who would know for sure?
-After 7 years & over 4 months of free use, I have just paid to keep my primary e-mail account.  Juno is now forcing people to pay to keep their account storage, even though it's actually stored on the hard drives of individual computers not owned by Juno.  Bizarre.  But since it's currently ten bucks a year, I'm not going to complain too much.  After all, I have just shy of 90 megabytes worth of e-mail saved from those 7+ years.
-Ah, legacies.  It appears that the fabled Brandeis Poker Club (or Club de Primera as we originally called it) has lived on well beyond being a front for buying us a set of chips & decks of cards every year.  What's far more amazing is that they've actually been allowed to sponsor gambling with real money, something we always hid from the administration.  It's amazing what happens over time.
-Fish introduced me to the Fresh Air archives the other day, which has free recordings of most (if not all) of the Fresh Air broadcasts.  This is a great interview show on NPR that I've been listening to for a year or so now, once or twice a week.  Most interesting of late was the interview with the voice of SpongeBob.  Since taking my job at Seneca, I've grown to love SpongeBob as the star of one of the best kids' shows currently on TV.  I'm pretty pumped about the upcoming movie, & the guy who does the voice is hilarious.  I've been trying to get the 2000 Ray Bradbury interview to work, but it seems to be bugged.
-Archived the days of IntroSPOOKtion, & contrary to what I said when I launched it, I decided to do those 50 days in the Halloween color scheme for posterity.  I've also streamlined the graphics archive with their own page, which is also linked in the header portion of the page above.  Finally, the new graphic illustrates that in 5 days, the magical 1,717th day of Introspection will arrive.  I know I'm one of the few people who takes special interest in this number, but there you have it.

17 November 2004
-More resolution, some confusion.  I'll be happy when they actually have a viable schedule worked out & aren't trying to keep us guessing.  I need to buy plane tickets!
-I have no self-control, la la la.  I am steaming, la la la.

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