Octopus's Garden
(10-19 June 2006)

19 June 2006
-Running behind today, with a lot I want to talk about here, but at least I caught up on some things before the work week gets fully underway.  It should be a more relaxed pace than last week, however.

18 June 2006
-Gris' birthday celebration yesterday was excellent, though he may not have enjoyed the conversation about the nature of fiction as much as I did.  Fish & I went to town with it, & Gris, Em, & Anna chipped in occasionally... as with many conversations, I was the minority in a 4-on-1 argument.  My basic contention is that people who write fiction just about what they know or about themselves in some veiled way are doing the easiest thing & thus demonstrate less creative skill than someone who writes about things further from their own direct personality.  It was a lot of fun, though, & sometimes I like an argument best when I'm holding down the Alamo against the onslaught of everyone else's opinion, no matter how much they make fun of me.
-Always good to run around.
-M's sweep!  Woot.
-Easiest laundry day ever, despite my dread of it.
-Picked up another individual round win at Pub Quiz, with a 3-for-3 sweep yielding me a hat that I almost like & a drink token for one of Fish's friends.  A great time, & probably the last one for a fairly long while, as Fish is always the driving force behind going.

17 June 2006
Happy Birthday to David Gray
-M's beat the Giants for the second straight time while Gris & I watched.  An 8-1 drubbing that I really enjoyed, though it saddened his birthday a little.  We also saw some action that gives Ghana a chance to get through, which is very exciting.  I will be cheering hard for Ghana against the US in the last game!
-I'm really tired this weekend & not entirely sure why.

16 June 2006
-Another relatively crazy day, especially since I thought it was going to be a slow day going into it.  Having to do a lot of heavy lifting is perhaps the only duty for this job I haven't enjoyed yet, & even there I had help & sympathy.  I've been making friends with people in restaurants, the print shop, & convenience stores in the surrounding neighborhood, & I love being part of such a vibrant & yet destitute community.  "Desolation Row" drums in the back of my head much of the time in the Tenderloin.  But that was always a strangely uplifting song for me & the same seems to hold true there now.
-I'm really going to miss Fish.

15 June 2006
-Despite it requiring an exhausting effort, we pulled off the graduation ceremony at work without a hitch, even impressing skeptics.  & it continues to be very rewarding to do well with things at work.  I even had time, despite the crazy schedule, to take my lunch break & watch Sweden score in the 89th minute to take a win when it looked like they were going to have a second devastating scoreless draw.  Huge excitement & nice to actually see one of the goals, which has been challenging with my schedule.  Just having a great time.

14 June 2006
-More running at work today, but it's nice to meet new folks who do work with us & convince them of my competence.  The day does fly with that much stuff to do, so overall I like it.  Tomorrow, however, the excrement really hits the proverbial air-conditioning.
-A's 7, Mariners 2.  What a weird experience.  So Gris scored us these amazing box seats that he found out about yesterday through his work... box seats meaning the special Wells Fargo box with free nice food & soft fabric seats.  However, the people running the box seats got to the game late so Gris & I couldn't get our will-call seats because the tickets hadn't been dropped off yet.  HOWever, we got 2 "problem tickets" from Ticket Services for free to get into the game & they left 2 next to them for the others we were meeting there.  In the 2nd inning, the WF people showed up & tracked us down via the tickets left for the others & we were ushered into a socializing-oriented box.  I was able to duck most all of the mixing between being the friend who came along & being dressed in pariahizing Mariners garb, but Gris was a bit hung out to dry.  So were the M's as the game progressed, despite jumping to a 1-0 lead (actually scoring this time with the bases loaded with Ichiro, Beltre, & Lopez & no outs... but only one run).  The game got ugly in a hurry as Pineiro just didn't have his stuff tonight.  & while being in a box was very nice & the mac-n-cheese & corn-on-the-cob were fantastic, watching the game from the box was utterly surreal.  It was like being in a blimp hovering over the stadium... great fun, but completely disengaged from the rest of the stadium.  Which I guess is the point.  It was nice to have a lot of space, but there was a certain raucous fan atmosphere missing.  Given the final score, though, I didn't much miss it tonight.  Tomorrow's a day game, so I'll have to wait till August to try to see the M's win a game live.  Thank goodness for MLB-TV.
-Unhappy with Clea's playing time on the Mep Report, Greg & Clea have rebelled to start their own podcast, Upon Further Review.  I hope Greg has a good stat-tracker for it.  & of course I'm kidding about the rebellion; Greg is still anchoring the emu show while doing this side project.  I shouldn't jest too hard as I might soon have my own side project in this arena.  So many projects & so little progress to be made this month with so much great recreation!
-I've been utterly happy & at peace since the 6th & foresee a long stretch like this.  There is something to be said for things getting easier as one ages, & I never would've believed it when I was younger, but one isn't supposed to then.

13 June 2006
Happy Birthday to John Schneider
-I've officially had my first stressful day at work.  Perhaps I was speaking too soon at the Public Market last night.  It's all still good; don't raise any alarm bells, but I was definitely doing some running today.
-A's 2, Mariners 0.  I was going to go for some cheap seats (or seat, as I should say, as I was by myself), but after the day I'd had at work, I felt like treating myself.  Plus, I had $22 in checks in my pocket from utterly random sources (a DMV refund & a survey Em took), so that more than paid for the ticket upgrade right there.  So I wound up 22 rows back, just between the screen & the M's dugout.  The trouble with getting great seats for a ballgame, though, is that they sort of get overridden when your team loses.  It's not a total waste by any stretch, but you'd always rather be in the worst seat in the house in a win than the best seat in a loss.  Or I would.  Regardless, this really was a great game, with an early pitchers' duel & a bases-loaded no-out opportunity in the ninth for the M's.  Of course that opportunity & its nerve-wracking play is all the worse for squandering the chance with no runs crossing home.  Once again, the 4-5-6 hitters just can't deliver for Seattle.  & Jamie Moyer continues to get no run support despite pitching a gem.  Going back tomorrow, where hopefully the M's can win for the first time in front of me this year.  Come to think of it, I don't think they've won in Oakland at all this year, with or without me present.  That has to change if we're going to win the West.  At least Texas lost.

12 June 2006
-It really does amaze me how this grisly depiction of Zarqawi's death is being drawn out over time throughout the media & the government's propaganda.  I know we're a culture of death, but do we really have to revel in a murder for a full week?
-Glide uses this little pokey plastic tubing atop all sorts of surfaces to keep the vast numbers of pigeons in the neighborhood from congregating & doing what pigeons do all over the premises.  It's the same concept as small spikes on fences, but significantly cheaper.  As I was walking up the stairs in the main building, I saw out a window that an ingenious family of pigeons had cultivated a nest atop a whole mess of this spikey tubing.  They had simply coated the tubing with enough soft materials to make it livable & settled down to raise a family.  It occurred to me that the entire Tenderloin neighborhood lives on almost exactly the same principle as this pair of pigeons... carving out a bleak but dauntless existence in the face of pure rejection, but somehow using the last of their wits to survive.  Those moments when the relevant embodiment of a metaphor throws itself in front of one's oncoming train are when we are all closest to God.

11 June 2006
-It's been three straight weeks now of Sunday morning tennis-ball-baseball at Ohlone Park.  In our largest game yet (6-on-6), we incorporated 3 neighborhood kids as the first outsiders to accept our invitation into the game.  We added names as my team lost for the third week in a row, with the Riots outlasting the Earthquakes 15-13 in 4 innings.  There was a fair bit of scoring, more than ever before despite the greater number of fielders.  We quit early with people having other considerations to get to, but it was still a great time & should happen again next week!
-"A Prairie Home Companion" could've used a tad more plot, but was thematically brilliant & of course wonderful for any fan of the radio show.  Which is both Em & myself, so we had a great time.  It was also lacking in any Lake Wobegon stuff, but I hear that Keillor is saving that for an actual Lake Wobegon movie set in said community.  Garrison Keillor remains one of the few people in the world that I'd want to become.
-Exit Em, stage Beantown.  When trainings are pulling her away from more direct work on her campaigns, I'm not sure I understand the point.  Ah well.

10 June 2006
-It's too bad that Trinidad & Tobago's first point in the World Cup had to come at the expense of Sweden, who is the team I'm most rooting for this year in Ireland's absence.  Perhaps the lesson is that I shouldn't root for anyone this year.  I'm also cheering for Togo, but their chances are about as good as, say, Trinidad & Tobago's.
-"Cars" was great, but somehow seemed to be missing a certain magic.  It was still emotionally compelling, but maybe I just couldn't get as excited about a car race as ocean survival.  Right in the middle of the pack for Pixar, with "Finding Nemo" way out in front & "The Incredibles" way in the back.  But Pixar is Pixar... it's all good.

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