With a Little Help from My Friends
(1-10 January 2006)

10 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-I think I might start keeping a migraine log.  As a small & dull section of this 'log, so I can look it up from anywhere.  After all, it's a new year & as far as I can recall, last night was my first migraine of it.  So, assuming that it is gone (they fool me frequently), this one was 16 hours, right side, incapacitating, & caused by either computer or food.  Carry on.
-On a 3-0-1 decision so far, it looks like I may not be in this week's round of PostSecret.  I spent some time yesterday looking at Cliff's Amusement Park's layout on their site, & briefly thought I might have found a place where that picture could've involved me, but the colonial brick architecture just isn't the kind of thing we have in New Mexico.  So I'm going to go ahead & be pretty sure that it isn't me, despite resembling me a great deal.  Whew.
-I had a very extensive & detailed dream last night that I was Harry Potter.  I remember the only thing I was really surprised by was my haircut... looking in the mirror & seeing disheveled short black hair really threw me.  Otherwise I took it completely in stride.  After all, despite Stina's protestations, that's who I relate to when I read the books.
-Just archived 40 days worth of this page, but stopped short of opening up the 8th era (Counting Crows, methinks) as I don't know where we'll be living for the bulk of it.  Honestly, the consistency of this page's archive is the biggest argument for staying in Oakland.  & cost, I guess.  So we'll see what that looks like, & then more archiving.  End meta.

9 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-So I was just surfing around & looking at PostSecret, which is one of my (along with the rest of the known universe) new weekly stops on the old WWW.  I should warn you that a fair bit of the content is racy or depressing or gut-wrenching or whatever.  & I've wondered before, for the past few weeks of reading it, what people do if they think they see a blurred-out or eyes-blocked-out picture of themselves on one of the postcards.  Which of course is the point, I'm sure, that everyone secretly wants all of their secrets to be known & everything is written for an audience, etc. etc.  Then, as the saying goes, I stopped cold.  I think this might be me.  Now I can't be sure, & there are seven billion people in this world & I've often commented on how we're all stamped out of relatively few molds.  Those of you who didn't know me in high school will have to imagine, as this appears to be from around or just prior to the "Thunderwings" (© 1997 John Schneider) stage of my hair.  The nose looks right.  & I could probably strain to imagine a couple of people (one in particular) who might write such a postcard about me.  The thing that's the biggest vote against it being me is that I really can't place the background at all.  The brick & the amusement park ride look like a mismatch... I can't imagine any place I've been that would have both of those.  So maybe that will help me sleep tonight.  But I'd appreciate the thoughts of others who knew me then, or are good at analyzing comparative photography, or something... because I'm a little freaked out.
-I forgot to post a couple days ago about our (Jake, Fish, Gris, Anna, & myself) effort to bust the myth that one can't distinguish between Coke & Pepsi in a blind taste-test.  We did both the triangle test (as described to us in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink), where two of one soda & one of the other are poured & one has to identify which is different.  We tacked on to that one the attempt to identify which was which.  In that one, 60% of testers (Anna, Fish, & I) nailed the test perfectly, though Em later took it & also didn't pass.  Then we ran a straight identification test of four cups with indeterminate distribution, but allowing only one sip before immediate declaration of what it was.  In that one, only three took the test, with Anna nailing it & Gris & I getting all but the last one right.  So in tests that Gladwell says tend to come out no better than guessing, we ran 83% (25/30) at identifying which soda we were drinking.  Myth busted.
-Jake also has a great picture of those of us who took the taste-test challenge, either at first or later.
-With the advent & rising popularity of the so-called HappyNews, I've been considering doing a BP feature wherein I point out all the depressing aspects of their stories.  I'm sure no one is gasping in shock that this is an idea I came up with.  Regardless, they're not even making me try hard.  Whose busted idea of happiness is that?  Prince William is getting better at killing people!  Hurrah!  Hopefully some Iraqi can lose a family member in a few years & tell us how happy she is that Prince William learned to kill!

8 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-So I found Jake's secret blog, which he assured me he didn't want to be secret, so I can link it here.  From that page, you can find Betsy's blog of life in China as well as Jake's mom's blog.  Lots of reading!
-I finally solved the mystery of the random squiggles on the Search of the Week pages, so those are history!  I have concluded that it was either the result of having defunct stat-trackers on the pages, or more likely the result of not paying attention to the ASCII/Binary distinction, something I've only recently begun to appreciate as important in the FTP process.  Either way, these pages look a lot better now.  & the first 2006 entries are up for that & the Top Visitor Town, which New Jersey is just trying to own.
-Speaking of BP projects, I've been pleasantly surprised at the response to Questions for God, though admittedly few people seem to be taking up the charge of making blog posts about the questions.  People have been submitting like crazy, though.  & some of them are actually really good.  I think this will be something I update on Wednesdays, so that'll be the time to check for new questions.
-Nothing takes a tolerable mood out of one like looking for places to live.  There was only one place I was really inspired by, a brick building at Telegraph & Durant in Berkeley, but we called & it turns out they don't allow cats.  I had seen this need to move as an opportunity to really find a place that we loved & now I'm seeing it's just another effort to piece together something vaguely affordable & not awful.  Which is fine.  But I'd briefly had visions of downtown Berkeley dancing in my head, & I guess that was silly.  At least we're bound to be closer to BART.

7 January 2006
[from Oakland]
Happy Birthday to Natalie Garin
-Green chile enchiladas.  Old stories from the past.  Movies cancelled.  & Jake just wants to have fu-un.  Oh Jake just wants to have fun.
-The crew is officially obsessed with Ticket to Ride Europe.  We completed our third game in as many days today, this one a full five-player episode with Fish winning in the first time he's ever played any sort of TtR game.  Though he finished with 99 points, & Jake, Gris, & I all tied with exactly 95.  Very close, very enjoyable, though the first time I've lost with my new set.  I'm starting to see how making up your own long routes might be preferable pretty soon to using the mere 6 that come with the game.
-Wrapped up Jake's visit with a final game of Oh Hell, wherein Emily threw a perfect game, despite bidding for & winning only 4 tricks in the 16 hands we played.  It was a classic Schneiderian win.  Then a couple pictures, a drive to the airport, & Jake is on his way back to Hotlanta.  It was a fantastic visit & made me try to cook up lots of new schemes about getting everyone reassembled in the Bay Area (though we seem to get closer every few months), but at least he'll be in LA this summer.

6 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-Last night was an earnestly epic poker night, which involved 3 new people (friends of Cameron's), one of whom set the all-time record with a $160 profit.  We had 10-12 people at the peak, but most everyone stayed super-late & the all-ins were simply flying around the table.  Kevin brought his new baby & did very well, then dropped the baby off downstairs & lost all his money.  In fact, only Jake managed to not lose money besides the new guy who won almost everything... I was the only other person who cashed out chips, losing a dollar total on my buy-in.  Truly insane, but it seems like everyone had a great time.
-Jake & I have been doing a fair bit of walking around town & it's remarkable how quickly it goes when one has someone to talk to on the way.  Even the walk to Ahn's sometimes seems far when I'm by myself.  I'm starting to think that even more of the world than I previously thought is simply about avoiding boredom & maintaining patience... everything is mental.
-Speaking of walking, Gris, Jake, & I went up to Marin for a 6-mile hike in the muddy woods on the Bay side coast today.  I think it was called the Shoreline Trail, from Gris' book of such places.  It was fun, though not quite as entertaining as the seal rocks that I had been to in Marin a couple summers back.  There was one brief brutal uphill in the midst of this trail, but otherwise it was relatively gentle.

5 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-At last it is revealed:  the new BP project is up & running.  Check out Questions for God.

4 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-I don't know who out there has been following this mine disaster in West Virginia & all its fallout, but the story of the survival followed by the retraction & the revelation that (nearly) everyone was dead seems to be an eerie parallel to what happened with the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.  I don't know if this is covered in the new movie (which I still very much want to see), but the first reports about the attempt to rescue the hostages said that everyone was saved, & then the truth came out shortly thereafter, but after everyone had time to celebrate & get pumped.  Quite similar on this one... & has to be about the worst feeling possible for the families & friends above ground.
-Walked around the whole Lake Merritt today with Jake & wound up at the Burrito Shop, who refuses to sell their wonderful new breakfast burritos after 11 AM.  We caught up on just about everything, including the fact that his sister Betsy apparently has a pretty popular blog, reporting on her adventures teaching English in China.  I need to remember to get the link from Jake before he goes.
-Frontier food makes the holiday last a little longer...

3 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-Gris had the day off, so he, Jake, & I embarked on a game of Settlers of Catan with the new Cities & Knights expansion that I got for Christmas.  The game is absurdly complex & took a lot of figuring out, but seems well worth it as the game is even more interesting than the basic Settlers.  Which I guess is the idea.
-I really have made a lot of strides with food.  But spicy food will always be an acquired taste for me, & thus I have no natural talent for absorbing it, even if I now like it.

2 January 2006
[from Oakland]
-Left Albuquerque at the crack of dawn this morning, after a bit of packing & a quick breakfast with the fam in the kitchen.  The visit was altogether too short, but so much better than not going at all.  The flights were fine & involved an almost utterly empty plane on the first leg to Vegas (no more than 25 people could've been on board), so Em & I each got a row for sleeping.  It's been a pretty grumpy rainy day since returning, but we got Pando out, had some Thai food, & are settling back in to being home again.
-Enter Jake, stage south.  If you can't be in Nuevo, best to have lots of Nuevo friends around for a long time!

1 January 2006
[from Albuquerque]
Happy New Year
-Rang in the new year at Mesco's place with Em, Mesco, Afsheen, & Amber.  We were forced to watch the ball in New York 2 hours after it was live since there was absolutely no coverage of a Mountain-time event for 2006.  I thought it would be a good idea to do some sort of balloon drop in Albuquerque, but my Dad suggested the tram going up to the top, which is far cooler an idea.  During the evening, both last year & this, we played Solarquest (not sure I've played that in over a decade), far too much Uno, & used Afsheen's nifty new egg muffin maker.
-I just can't believe that we're already on our last day in Nuevo for a bit.  It's been a fantastic trip & very restful, but I always have such a difficult time wrenching myself away.  At least I still have a Frontier burrito in the fridge.
-Was planning on launching the new project right here on New Year's Day, but I think the first week of the year will suffice.  After all, I'm trying to pick a weekday (leaning towards Wednesday) to anchor the project every week.  So that gives me some time, though the traffic has been really great lately, especially according to my friends Alexa & BlogPulse.

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