Time Must Have a Stop
(15-24 February 2005)

24 February 2005
-Already there's a lot to catch up on.  How did this happen?

23 February 2005
-I don't know what the US thinks it's going to be able to do.  War with Iran, Syria, & Iraq all at once?  The US can't even win one of these wars, let alone 3.  I think at that point, when the world is able to call America's bluff, things will swing swiftly in another direction.  The question is whether anyone will force the issue enough to reveal that the US can't keep saying "do this, or we invade" & actually have to follow through with everyone.  Unless the draft comes back, which will probably do more damage to the US military than good.  It's funny how similar the US rhetoric is to a lot of what I deal with at work from overtly violent young teens.

22 February 2005
-I love the reading program we have at the house, especially when it actually goes well & the kids get into it.  This doesn't happen often, but it's really fun when it does happen.

21 February 2005
-The President's Day holiday made things easier than average at work, especially when some folks are having extended home visits these days.  It's just chill to get in at 3 & not have to work the After-School Program.

20 February 2005
-Quarter-century.  Sooooo old.  & what have I accomplished?  Next to nothing.  Bleh.
-My co-workers made a pretty big deal out of the whole birthday thing, & it occurred to me that almost everyone takes their birthday off at my job... it's not fun to have people tell you they hate you on your b-day, I s'pose.  But I am fresh out of PTO, so my options are limited... & Em's outta town anyway.
-Got to leave early, since Em came back late tonight, & then hung out with Fish & Em at the ol' Mexicali Rose.  Em got me tickets to see Bobby D next month at the Paramount, which should be exciting.  Things to look forward to.

19 February 2005
-My birthday came a little early overnight today as I took 4th place out of 1,935 people in a PokerStars tourney.  The buy-in was 3 bucks, while the pay-out was $365.72.  So suddenly it looks like I'm going to be playing with profit for the remainder of my online poker career.  While I definitely got lucky once or twice, I felt like I was playing the best, most disciplined poker of my life, & went into the tournament with a whole new mindset.  Winning that much money was totally unexpected though.  On the final table, every person I beat meant another $50, so I shortened up even more than my usual tight play to hold out for 4th.  Fish watched the last 2-3 hours & helped keep me sane, & I even called Em in the middle of the night to let her know.  I'm just a little bit pumped.
-Em's family (the entire family minus her, her Dad, & Will) surprised me today by coming up to Tracy when I thought I was just going to play games with Paul for a bit.  I had made dinner plans earlier so I couldn't stay the whole time, but we had a great Mexican meal, cake & ice cream, snacks, & board-games.  Mostly we played a massive game of Bootleggers that took hours.  Still, it was very nice of them given that Em is still out of town & I have to work tomorrow.
-Went out to dinner with Chris Russo, his brother, Bernbaum, & Zimmy, who just moved out here.  Apparently Zimmy actually has a job, which is great, & everyone else is doing well enough.  We went to more Mexican, though I was too stuffed to really choke down any more food.

18 February 2005
-Poker night last night provided another big haul for me, & I seemed to be hitting hands all night long.  Good to get back in the swing of things... very good.

17 February 2005
-This has been one of the more shocking & surreal nights in memory.  Late last night, just around midnight after Fish & I had picked up Em & her co-worker from the airport, we were driving up I-880 to drop the co-worker (name's Sam) off at the BART station.  We had been planning on going to dinner, but decided against it, changing our course.  As we're cruising up the right line near the exit, a car comes whizzing out of nowhere around us, skids out of control, & rams perpendicular into the left median of the freeway.  We pull over & call 911, & start trying to figure out what we can do.  The other car starts smoking, & two people run from the wreckage across the freeway, then end up banging on the doors of the Kia.  It's a male & female, about our age I suppose... the female is pretty badly hurt & bleeding in a few places, while the male seems fine.  We roll down the windows (leaving the car doors locked) & they're yelling something all but incomprehensible about chasing after their baby & needing to continue the chase.  We're trying to get them to calm down & explain that an ambulance is on the way, but before we know it they're yelling at us asking if we're going to give them a ride.  While at first it sounded like there might be a place to ride to (a hospital, not to chase the baby if in fact there is such a baby), my rational mind quickly realized that just setting out to a hospital makes less sense than waiting for paramedics to arrive.  I don't even know where the nearest hospital is, & how would we fit 6 people in the Kia anyway?  As I'm thinking this, they start running up the shoulder of the freeway, full tilt.  It just keeps getting more bizarre.  Sam & Em go out as the car starts to catch fire to make sure that no one else is in the car, keeping a safe enough distance to make sure that if it blows up, they'll be okay.  Having verified that no one is in the car, we come back, amazed that no one else has stopped.  The car is billowing smoke & fully aflame by the time the fire truck & police arrive.  We give a brief statement to the latter & they say they'll contact us later.  We drove at about 45 miles an hour into the city to drop off Sam & then came home.  Just crazy.
-Well the follow-up, after talking to the police, is that the car was carjacked at gunpoint earlier in the day, presumably by those who were driving it when they crashed it.  Fish & I (at about 3 in the morning) were able to identify that one guy who had come into the hospital around the time of the crash was not the guy we'd seen despite some superficial similarities.  While there were probably fingerprints on the car, the police honestly told us that Oakland probably didn't care enough about this crime to track them down.  All I know is that we're very lucky to not have tried to give those folks a ride, just in case they still had the gun on them.  It's a good thing the car was full when they tried to join in.  Wow.  I feel like life just got a whole lot more real in the last few hours.

16 February 2005
-Meetings trying to set my mind at ease a little, but I just can't be so sure.  One day at a time has ne'er been so true around here.

15 February 2005
Happy Birthday to J. Ariela Maruri
-A pretty good week for getting back into the milieu, as it were.  Not that things are looking up in the broader sense, but I love coming back to a quick Monday/Tuesday routine.  The kids were definitely trying to give us a hard time, but when I think about our house relative to other houses, I realize that we have things under a good deal of control.

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