Antic Hay
(4-13 August 2005)

13 August 2005
-I used to be such a firebrand.  Four consecutive Bible-Beater gag-gift awards at the New Mexico Model United Nations, each a Gideon stolen from a Santa Fe hotel by a member of a different school's team (Pius, perhaps?).  Standing in front of one car, spitting on another.  Half a man.  I'm just a happy guy.  The tirade after NYU '01 quarters, even.  But by '01, & especially after, I've made such strides & efforts to calm it down.  Not that I don't aim to live my life with the same passionate intensity & dedication to emotions that has governed so much of my existence.  It's all still there, but more of an 8 on the volume dial than a 12.  Holding back, sometimes.  Maybe I shouldn't always have held back.  One time in particular, the Nationals banquet in 2003, I shouldn't have held back.  I should have said exactly what I felt, in living color, with all the vibrancy of the incidents above.  But I held my tongue, I tried to smooth over the waters.  It was a mistake, one that the friendship may never recover from.  & now, lacking the technicolor intensity of the 1990's, I can't turn it on in this situation.  I can't say what it did, because I didn't say it then.  Because I went back on my policies in the interest of being a calmer soul.  & that's fine, that's all well & good, but it was a mistake in this case.  & if you're reading this somehow, Kives, in your arrogant self-pity about your last competitive round, this is not about you.  I gave you the measured & correct RFD, & you lost by failing to opp the case with anything but meaningless rhetoric.  I'm talking about someone very different than Kives indeed.
-Always wear concert T-shirts to concerts.  It's just good luck.  Ideally, it's the shirt of the band you're going to see, but if you don't have that, bring whatever shirt you do have.
-The Bell Jar, which I finished yesterday, is apparently widely perceived as Salingeresque, which is quite accurate.  I judge so much of my perception of books on the endings, which is not good news for my opinion of Sylvia Plath's only novel.  It was doing really well till the last few chapters, & ended so abruptly.  More to the point, it's an artificial cut-off point given how much of her life is embedded in that novel.  The only thing that's really fiction are the names.  So I guess we know the real ending... it's a shame she couldn't have told the whole story.

12 August 2005
-Had an incredible poker night last night, both in terms of fun & the just-shy-of-$30-haul.  Myron had been way up at one point, but I slow-played trip queens right into him & took almost half his stack.  I kept finding ways to edge people out.  It looks like this Thursday night tradition that brings everyone together is back on track & only getting stronger from here on out.  Drew should be around for the next one, which is exciting & will mark yet another 'Deis friend who crosses over into the new poker nights.
-Grinberg (on BP People) has a great post today about the fact that the quality of movies this year is to blame for people not going to movies.  I think I posted to this effect a while back, but it's good to see everyone getting on board.  Trust me, there have been zillions of weekends this year when I've desperately wanted to see a movie & there's simply nothing I can justify the time & money to myself for.  I probably would've seen 10 more movies had there been anything even tolerable in theaters.  Though I'm optimistic that things can salvage themselves a bit after the obligatory summer nonsense.  With Harry Potter & Narnia movies, this winter can't be a complete bust.  Between those & Pixar films, has it become the case that "kids movie" crossovers are the only things worth watching these days?  Given that some of the best movies of the year already have been "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" & the G-rated "March of the Penguins", there may be something to this.  But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

11 August 2005
-Exit Ariel.  Reflecting on the fabulous week she spent here, it occurs to me again & again how many stories I have from the past.  New ones are often being made, but some of the old ones are real classics.  Obviously the high school classics, the Voice-Operated Remote & the Caterpillar Bet, are well-known & even passed on by friends to others.  Scotland Tries to Kill Me is also a true classic.  But there are many other diamonds in the rough here & there, some heartbreaking, but most funny (& I guess several are both)... Stina & Ariel recommended that I compile them into a pseudo-fictional account of tales of youth.  I certainly have never ruled out the idea, but everyone in these stories is still alive, & besides, I've always looked down on so-called fiction writers who are really just disguising their lives in the word "fiction".  Don't get me wrong... I still enjoy some of the work of people who do this, such as Salinger, or the very Salingeresque The Bell Jar, which I'm currently reading, or Tim O'Brien, or countless others who lift things from their life & call it a made-up story.  But I'm not ready for that for myself yet, & I can't help but disrespect that idea.  Maybe it's that I resent so many people looking for themselves in Loosely Based when they weren't there... when only one or two scenes & no major characters bore any resemblance to my real life.  But it's chicken & egg stuff... I resented it because I want to be known for creativity, not just repackaging real life.  & as I've always told Brandzel, I write fiction to have something credible to believe because my life is too riddled with unbelievable connection & so-called coincidence.  But preserving the stories in some form is definitely in the picture at some point, I'm sure.  Of course I think they're better spoken than written, so there's another dilemma.  If only I could become Garrison Keillor.  & so many other things I want to be.  That reminds me of a story...
-I'm still not fully satisfied with the look of the BP People page, newly updated today to add Ariel & the second Segal blog.  I love having an archive of the pages that were, & how many times people change their addresses or get a new idea for blogging & so on.  But it's getting a little overwhelming.  I feel like it's not really accessible for anyone other than me.  Which is fine, but the page itself is also kind of ugly.  I dunno.  I was thinking of re-dividing things into the level of updatedness instead of by alphabet.  Having an actually-updated section, an italics purgatory, & a muck of the forgotten.  Thoughts?

10 August 2005
-Last night wrapped up with a trip into the city for Em's summer boss' birthday.  She's just 48 days older than Em.  Many folks went up on this roof that had a simple wall-based ladder for about six rungs as its only access... with nothing below for several stories.  Though this is normally the type of thing that would entice me to the hilt with its heights and ledges, I got a really bad feeling & opted out.  I think as much as anything, it was that I didn't respect the height or the ladder enough to take it seriously enough to climb.  With my utter lack of being freaked out by heights, I sometimes catch myself being very cavalier about them, & that's the only time they can be dangerous.  There was one time on the Grand Canyon that I swear I almost jumped off a ledge just because I was so relaxed about it, & then quickly got scared realizing that this would be a very bad idea indeed.  The rest of the party featured some interesting PIRG folks, but everyone's always very tired, Em especially.
-Wandered down to Mountain View today to check out Stina & Dav's new place & tour the burbs, followed by a tour of some nice wooded areas not far from the burbs.  Merciless fun of Stina was made, along the lines of juxtaposing her cynical former self with her overwhelmingly smitten current self.  Good times never seemed so good.
-"The Emperor's New Groove" is the anti-Disney movie, with quality jokes instead of inane songs.  & of course, llamas.  Highly recommended.

9 August 2005
-Something about friendships.  It never seems to matter how much time has elapsed or how far away people have been.  Friendships either have it or they don't, & when they have it, it will never fade.  There's always something new to say, a story untold (or mayhap forgotten), an insight newly discovered, yet with references that are inextricably binding to a common point.  I think that if this weren't true of friendships, I would really insist on living in a closed-up village where no one ever left & cutting out everyone else.  It would be too unbearable to lose those connections.  Luckily, friendships are that way & so I can live in a world where everyone's constantly thousands of miles apart.  If you all want to come to the Bay Area, though, it really wouldn't hurt.
-Saither Tower has been re-opened!  Finally.  I guess part of what I attributed as the September 11th closings was just a major renovation.  I could've sworn that I walked up the stairs on the newspaper trip &/or debate trip when I last went to the top, but now those are closed & the elevator is the only option.  It's also $2 now, when I think it used to be free... though the $2 is well worth it for the views & the wonderful heights alone.  Ah Berkeley...
-It's too bad I'm having all this history being brought up now, because three days ago would've been the time to write, if I were going to.  & someday, I really should again.  But not today.  Then again, maybe it doesn't always have to start on a significant day.
-Due to the urgings of many & after a briefly frustrating moment of wrestling with BlogDrive's CSS scripting (I'm not as good with CSS as with HTML), Ariel now has a blog!  Hurrah!!

8 August 2005
-Last night was a bit rag-tag, but fun all the same, & went from my biggest loss in Wise & Otherwise of all-time to ending up at two different karaoke bars in San Francisco.  All in all, it was crazy to meet new people (a couple old 'Deis friends of Ariel who had graduated long before we ever got there).
-The Book List has finally been updated, introducing 6 new submitters with 77 new books.  For the first round of updates ever in my recollection, I don't know a single one of the people.  Though given how much I corresponded with one of the new people to clarify his list, I feel like I almost know him.  Conclusion?  More of my friends need to submit to the list!  I'm looking at those of you out there who were really excited about it when it started 3 years ago & still haven't added to it!

7 August 2005
-Lots of sad baseball games today.
-I can't even explain the degree to which I hate supermarkets these days.  Especially crowded ones filled with people employing idiotic parking strategies.
-This has been a strangely difficult day.

6 August 2005
-Emily's first Saturday off since May!!  Holy cow!
-It ended up consisting of a lot of napping, sleeping, lazing around, & so on.  Em's a little behind on getting rest.

5 August 2005
-A lackluster poker night, after so many had promised to show.  So it goes.
-Enter Ariel, in the middle of the night.  We had madcap adventures that included meeting her at 3 in the morning, despite AmericaWest insisting that her flight had landed on time at 1:16, then heading out to a diner in San Francisco (Sparky's) that was nifty & 24 hours.  Good times, home by 5.
-Seems like... old times...
-Storytelling never gets old.  Especially when all one's friends have no memory.

4 August 2005
-Argh!  The good news is that I finished 10th out of 1,518 people in an online poker tourney last night.  The bad news is that I would have taken home a lot more cash for making the final table, which I missed by one spot.  Russ & Greg were coaching me through part of it & we were all pretty disappointed.  I made one significant mistake, which was the final all-in... I panicked & jumped the gun when I could've pretty easily gotten into much bigger stakes at the final table.  Not that a $34 return on $3 is bad, but the top place was $1,000 & many lower places were well into the hundreds.  Ah well, it's still nice to finish in the top fraction of a percent of any tournament.
-You still have a little time to get into the Book List before it's updated, if you were thinking about submitting.  There've been problems that need clarifying with a couple strangers' lists, so I'm not quite done with the update.  Of course you're welcome to submit any time, but again I only update every half-year or so.
-Looks like I'm going to be interviewed for a newspaper in Fort Worth about my quizzes & the Blue Pyramid.  I only just got word of this, so I'll be sure to keep people posted about the article if & when it comes out.
-Don't let the screen door hit you on your way out, StatCounter.  & welcome to the BP, MyWebStats.  Here's the thing with StatCounter... they're great for a low-traffic website.  Though they only give you data on the last 100 pageviews, which is cruddy.  But still fun to trawl around & see who just posted your stuff.  But in the long-term, they're no good, & their idea of responding to e-mail replies to their e-mails is to do nothing & then re-send the original e-mail 2 weeks later.  Well done there.  We'll see how long MyWebStats holds up as reliable.  Already it looks like they only track major sites, not specific URLs.  But this is only serving as a real-time back-up to the standard CoastlandTech stuff that comes with my hosting, which revealed a 3rd straight week around 100,000 unique visitors last week.  The Book Quiz is really on fire again.

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