Magical Mystery Tour
(22-31 December 2005)

31 December 2005
[from Albuquerque]
-I've had a great opportunity to have long talks with my Dad this trip, many of them about old family history or new possibilities.  Sometimes it can get to be a bit much, when the talk goes for more than 6 hours, but usually it's one of the best things about being home.
-Last trip to the Frontier already, mostly to stock up for the next couple days & then a return to the Bay.  Ran into a fair bit of Gris' family while there, finally fulfilling the Frontier promise.  It turns out they have revamped their website as well.  The Frontier, not Gris' family.
-My Dad's embarking on his cataract eyedrops today.  I post this mostly for the record, not that this particular day would be that hard to recall.

30 December 2005
[from Albuquerque]
-Saw Fish, Gris, & the Hoffmans last night & played around with cards & jokes for a bit.  As always when seeing Megan, there seemed to be a key joke to keep coming back to, in this case the idea of dressing Fish up in a shrimp-suit, which was alternately a formal suit made of tiny shrimp or a full plush shrimp costume.
-Bit of a surprise this morning in the old inbox.  At this point it's far too early to comment, but it's all good so far.
-Went up the tram with Mesco & Afsheen, something neither Em nor Afsheen had done before.  I remembered it being very expensive, & costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $25-35 apiece, but it was actually only $15 apiece round-trip.  I have no idea where my memory of it being so much more came from, but I was utterly convinced that it was more & this probably hindered me not taking Em to the tram earlier.  Regardless, everyone had a good time despite many not heeding my warnings of extreme cold at the Peak & then being blown away by temperatures in the low 20's & winds in the high 30's.  We had coffee & hot chocolate at the High Finance lounge & pondered another seeming phantom memory of there being some sort of coffee shop at the top of the Peak as well that was not so expensive as to label itself "High Finance".  So it goes.  We came down as the sun was setting & the lights of Albuquerque were coming on, which was just about perfect.  I love heights.
-Got a chance to see Lisha before she heads back to the east coast.  She seems to be doing well & settling in to Baltimore more, which is good since it's the best city on that coast.

29 December 2005
[from Albuquerque]
-Home at last!  Already been to the Frontier, & working on catching up with the fam.  Even though not everyone's memory is always perfect.  Lots of folks to see tonight as well.
-Saw "Memoirs of a Geisha" in a visit to Century Rio 24 for the first time in quite a while.  It was well better than the reviews it's been getting, though not necessarily overwhelmingly amazing.  I still like the lizard carpet in Century Rio.

28 December 2005
[from Oakland]
-Went bowling today briefly, I checked in at the office, & then we were on our way back up here.  Filed a quick Mep Report & we're on our way tomorrow.  I know we need to cut the lag-time between recording & posting the Mep Rep, but there's a new highlight up for all to check out.
-Countless have sought the answer.  114 million on Google alone seek to hold the prize.  But it would seem that I have the top answer in the quest to find the best books ever.
-Palpably excited about the trip to Nuevo tomorrow.  It's going to be a brief trip, but should be a great one.  In just a few short hours, there will be green chile at the Frontier!  & family & friends!  & new changes to the house!  I can feel the cold dry air already.  Updates to come from the Duke City...

27 December 2005
[from Clovis, California]
-It took us 2.5 hours of pure waiting last night to get Kaiser to tell me what I already knew:  that I have an ear infection.  So it goes.  I have antibiotics, this time in the form of an eardrop.  Bizarre, but hopefully effective.
-Managed to play basketball last night in which Will & I upset the favored team of Geoff & Aaron in a grueling 3-2 series of five games to 11, win by 2.  'Twas exhausting, but quite enjoyable, especially since my shot was on, helping power us to a comeback from down 2-1.
-Don't go see "Cheaper by the Dozen 2".  But I have a strange feeling you knew that already.
-A last night of hanging out at Jen & Geoff's yielded a watching of "The Village", which yet again convinced me how brilliant that movie is.  Em didn't like it much, which saddened me, but I think it's harder to like if you don't like dwelling in the spooky haunting atmosphere of Shamalyan movies, or films like "The Others".  But between the accuracy of the whole movie, the allegory of the plot, & the spirit of the thing itself, it remains one of the best movies of the last few years.

26 December 2005
[from Clovis, California]
Happy Birthday to Paul Garin V
-Well after all my homesickness yesterday (though they had decided to get them much earlier), it turned out that my parents & Em had gotten me tickets to Albuquerque for Christmas!  It is a merry Christmas, as the saying goes.  Em was key on the deceptive wrapping & legitimately confused me a couple times, whereas my deceptive wrapping this year was to not have any deceptive wrapping.  Then I spent a great deal of time yesterday playing around with the kids in a thinly veiled ploy to wear them out so that they would finally want a nap after a day of eating sugar.  It didn't quite work, but the kids seemed to enjoy watching their 25-year-old uncle think he was younger than they were (& that his knees were that young as well, which are relatively sore after pretending to be alternatively a chasing lion or a chased reindeer).
-The last 2-3 days, I seem to have developed an ear infection, which I've had enough of to be able to recognize the symptoms without a diagnosis.  It feels like someone stuck a staple into my left ear & the left side of my throat.  It's way better than a standard sore throat or the recent flu, but it's still less than ideal.  Seems I'm getting it checked out tonight.
-So we're going to be here for the next couple days, then flying to Nuevo on the 29th & coming back the 2nd.  If you're going to be around there then, please e-mail me & let me know!  We'll hang out over breakfast burritos at the Frontier... or somewhere else, if you really insist.

25 December 2005
[from Clovis, California]
Happy Birthday to Holly Harper
-Merry Christmas to those celebrating it.  After watching a special on the History Channel that confirms what we all already know about the birth of Jesus being nowhere near December, & reconciling my own disbelief that we don't have a holiday celebrating the birth of Gandhi, I'm left with that standard dearth of real meaningful feel.  It doesn't help to be away from Nuevo, where Christmas, despite my lack of Christian belief, has been able to be reinvented for me in the practice of luminarias.  But Jesus was a pacifist (though "his" religion fails to reflect that somehow), so I can always get behind that.  Being away from home on Christmas, especially not going to Nuevo, every other year, has to be the hardest part of being married.  Not that I don't enjoy Em's fam's company or their traditions, but it's just not quite the same.  Right now it's quarter till eleven & everyone's made a pact not to do the presents thing till noon for various reasons, which makes it feel even more stilted & strange today.  Who doesn't rush headlong to the tree the minute they wake up?  I hope everyone's doing well & surrounded by those they love.

24 December 2005
[from Clovis, California]
-Drove down here last night despite feeling pretty blukky still.  It's actually been just a bit worse today.  I've been barely able to keep things down, but holding the line enough to not fully be sick again.
-Looks like the D&C's scanned down here are going to revert to being somewhat marginal in quality.  In the way the scans turn out, not the content!
-I am really not in the spirit.
-I have (yet another) new project idea that I think I might develop, though it seems gutsy in some ways & highly likely to flop.  At the same time, I feel like it could be the Next Big Thing.  I guess I feel a little like that about every project I do, except perhaps the Country Quiz when it first came out, which should probably tell me something about my (in)ability to predict the Next Big Thing.  We'll see.

23 December 2005
[from Oakland]
-The sickness also prevented me from joining in the ninth Mep Report, which is only a duo report.  Not the most auspicious follow-up to getting the Podcast of the Week on PodFly, but it's all still pretty exciting.  Plus, there's apparently some amazing spreading from Russ, a la policy debate.
-Almost feeling human again at this point, but I'm in no rush for anything.  Can we postpone Christmas this year?  How's the 27th sound for everyone?

22 December 2005
[from Oakland]
-Call me a prophet.  Not only did I get sick, not only did I get Emily's flu, but I was sicker than I have been any time since Scotland.  That's right, just shy of five years.  I'll spare the world the gory details (& trust me, they are quite gory), but suffice it to say that my body felt like a torture chamber that refused to believe I had nothing more to throw up or give out in waste.  Twelve solid hours of throwing up.  Now I just sort of shake & shiver.  But I'm not quite as dehydrated as I was, wherein I felt that I was losing oxygen flow to my brain from lack of water.

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