Portobello Road
(29 October - 7 November 2002)

7 November 2002
-So I'm a month early.  Check out the new graphic above (in case you missed it).  It's not flawless, but it gets the spirit of what I was going for across.  & yes, I still have to deliver a full month of entries before it's "valid".  But celebrations often start a little early & I figured it a good idea to get this one going on day 970.
-My drive home from work (Fairfield) tonight can only be described as harrowing.  The most harrowing driving situation since I took the Kia into a snowbank on the way to Montreal earlier this year.  There's a massive wind/rain storm pounding the Bay Area & I'm very glad I have tomorrow off.
-I've also been meaning to comment for a while, while we're on the subject of weather, that the "Weather Pixie" on Kate's page is an utterly unreasonable dresser.  Who has an exposed midriff in 45-degree rain?  If I dressed like the Weather Pixie just one day of my life, I'd contract pneumonia.

6 November 2002
-The Search of the Week should now be 800x600 safe.  So all you 800ers, rejoice!  Or at least go look at the page.
-I'm learning a whole lot more by having jobs than I ever did by going to classes.  Human interaction is so strangely different... the professional world (especially temporary &/or part-time stuff) is just an odd mix of respect & assumption & I continue to feel very very young.  I guess everyone my age went to grad school.  Or just doesn't do the kind of work I'm doing.  Regardless, my first day here went just fine, even if I did get a little lost on the way there.  It's apparently a common mistake.  & check out the mission statement on these folks... is this up my alley or what?
-I really need to stop eating till I come close to throwing up.  Nearly two decades of trying to "stretch my stomach" & it hasn't grown a quarter of a centimeter.  Sigh.
-I must admit that I was a skeptic about Googlism.  But there are only 2 entries in the world for my name.  They are (I swear, like Dave Barry, that I'm not making this up):
storey clayton is completely crazy
storey clayton is a crazy

Compelling, huh?
-The more I look around, the more I come to the conclusion that I've harbored as a vague notion for some time... namely that the amount of work a person does is almost inversely proportional to the work they actually do.  Menial & manual labor is infinitely harder than my job, yet I make twice the money.  & there are people who do no work at all & just watch their money from owned items roll in.  This is perhaps the greatest fundamental flaw with libertarian & even general conservative philosophies... the market "solves" by rewarding those who do well with less work & more pay.  The less you work, the more you're paid.  & this is a system that rewards all those hard-working Americans that people talk so much about?
-Meanwhile, though the above rant is clearly directed at my conservative friends, I've got a rant for the liberals too.  Why does everyone think that the Republicans getting a few more measly Senate votes is the end of the world?  At least 3 people are predicting nuclear winter by sundown tomorrow & I don't think it will make one ounce of difference.  The parties are virtually identical, especially in the wake of people's perceptions of terrorism.  Bush's war resolutions have faced almost no opposition from a divided Congress.  How will this world be any different?

5 November 2002
-Yay!  Lisha appreciates the constant updating!
-So I discovered yesterday that the Search of the Week looks really awful in 800x600 view.  It's crazy how quickly I've embraced the 1024 world.  Regardless, I should fix it so it doesn't look so bad for 1/3 of the people who visit.
-I accompanied Em to the new crazy electronic voting booth today... I still don't have a valid social contract with my country, so I'm waiting at least 4 years till I actually plug & chug my own ballot (or in this case, electronic card).  Anyway, it's a lot of technology to put in the hands of the old & bored.  I can see the benefits of instant results & the dream of ACTUALly counting every vote, but the potential for human error is enormous.  Also, no one under 50 votes.  Ever.  I think they should have the ballot on a typewriter in order to more fully accomodate the people who actually are doing the voting.
-Landlord!  It's cold in here!  Thus is the message I just left for our friends across the bay.

4 November 2002
-Don't have many more of these mornings free.  From now on, starting Wednesday or maybe next week, I'm working 36 hours a week.  Crazy, huh?  At least I'm actually making it so we can afford things like a cat.  The extra job is a temporary (till the end of January) job for a non-profit library in Marin... I'm basically supplementing their collection by photocopying stuff they need from other libraries & taking it to them.  Not the most exciting thing in history, but it's good stuff for a good cause.
-I used to play a lot of SimCity.  It may have been the first of many computer-game obsessions I've trailed through the years.  Well, there was always SuperStar Ice Hockey.  But SimCity was probably number two, coming to you live in full EGA graphics.  That game was all about the end-of-year evaluation that would come... even though re-election wasn't at stake, your standing with the people, which led directly to population growth (my favorite statistic) would always be measured & given to you.  What I learned after a time was that the more you delayed giving people services initially, the more they'd appreciate them long term.  In other words, if you waited till there was a riot in the streets about there being no police station in the city, then they'd demand more cops less often in the future & you wouldn't bankrupt yourself putting a pig on every block.  Same went for taxes... tax cuts had to be well-spaced or they'd be demanding 0% taxes by your 20th year in office.  This lesson is so widely applicable that I think SimCity to be invaluable in my early education about human nature.
-I must admit that peoples' quotes-based searches are getting a little lackluster of late.  I've spent a bit of my time teaching people at Chapman about using quotes effectively in searches on Google & other engines... but most people prefer the free-form.  This is my subtle way of saying that the Search of the Week has been updated.

3 November 2002
-Watching pumpkins mold is so sad.
-I am such a nutcase.  How do people put up with me?  I have so many messages... even if I'm right sometimes, I don't think I convey them well.  Bleh.  I just wish people took cars more seriously, or they all had big death warning labels plastered all over them instead of paint.
-More good times with the parents, though I'm strangely exhausted after a pretty full day.  Horseshoes to Afghanistan trumped by window weights to Albuquerque.  Oh, they're mega all right.

2 November 2002
-Some people just need to calm down & leave space.  You (should) know who you are.
-Great hanging out with the parents & having them in town.  San Rafael was fun, as has been seeing so many places that my Dad has only talked about in the past.  & "Moonlight Mile" turned out to be very good, even though it looked like a poor contextual choice at first.

1 November 2002
-Back to regular Introspection.  Maybe Introspooktion will be back next year.
-The parents are in town, in part for my Mom's 40th high school reunion in San Francisco, in part to just hang out with us.  So that's been great fun.  I think Berkeley's changed more than they ever could've imagined, though.  It's been taking its toll on their spirits, but we're still having a good time.
-So October '02 is finally over.  What a month!  One of the longest ever.  But good, on the whole.  Plowing towards winter might be a little less eventful though.
-Looks like I have 20 hours a week more of job, till January.  The ink's a bit wet on it all, though, so details will follow.
-Also want to send out the best of luck to everyone in pulling off the Brandeis tournament this year.  Especially to the G-Men, because running that show is just a bit stressful.  Hi everyone!  Hope you're having fun!

31 October 2002
-I've always loved Halloween, with it being my favorite holiday, or sometimes second my whole life.  & holidays are getting somewhat weird for me now, since I'm not a child & so many of them stand for religions or countries that I don't believe in anymore.  Nevertheless, I still love Halloween.  & I'm realizing how much college made for marginal observations of said holiday.  Sometimes there were tourneys, which were never exactly festive.  & then there's the fact that most college students look at Halloween purely as an excuse to get smashed.  Last year, I had to work till midnight & I had a migraine that made me think I'd gotten smashed.  So this year, living on my own, the holiday is restored to its proper stature, with carved pumpkins & waiting for trick-or-treaters & all.  Sadly, Em sliced open her finger en route to carving a pumpkin yesterday, but we decided that despite the pain, the results were worth it.
-I was archiving today anyway, so I thought I'd spice up the coloration of this page for one day only.  Call me Google.
-So we had our first faculty meeting today at work (since I was hired), signalling the end of the term.  Tradition has it that someone speak at these functions & tonight a faculty member who helped work on the research for Bowling Alone spoke.  I must note here that I have not read Bowling Alone & I likely won't in the future.  But the thesis she provided on behalf of said work was that our social capital is in decline, highlighted by a changing society & the deaths of the WWII generation.  Sounds interesting in theory till the heart of the statistics hits... then you see that most of this is being measured in attendance of "social clubs", be they political, purposed, or general, & alignment with organized religions.  Needless to say, I think that the need to socialize only in such formalized settings is simply a social relic & not the harbinger of the end of our communities.  My belief is that we all socialize a lot more informally than our grandparents did, but that we frankly socialize better.  In other words, we are more communicative, personal, & honest in the relationships/friendships/interactions that we have BECAUSE there's less of an official/systemic framework around them.  Yes, the family is in decline & TV is bad for our social lives, but in general, I think social interaction has gotten more REAL.  Maybe I'm just blessed with an exceptional life experience, but I think most of our generation is being more communicative & less formal.  & we have less faith in structured systems (voting/politics, parent-teacher associations, government leadership, to use examples from the presentation), but I think that's because they deserve less faith than they used to get.  Most indicative to me is the fact that the book itself classifies "bowling alone" as non-league play, admitting that some "alone" bowlers are with a few friends.  How is that alone?!  Now Robert Putnam's picking on one of my favorite activities of all-time... & one that has built my social life a great deal.  So here's to bowling alone with some good friends!

30 October 2002
-Sometimes it's a lot just to face one's own humanity.
-US immigration policy blows my mind.  I know that it's national policy to be hypocritical at every turn, but some things still surprise me.  I don't know why, but I guess I expect America to at least be consistent in its weird priorities.  But it's not.  The priority of opening welcome arms to foreign nationals, the only reason any of us live here save a few tens of thousands, just doesn't exist.  Everyone is seen as an enemy outsider trying to steal their way in.  How did anyone get here otherwise?  Isn't that the American Way?  Can't we at least let everyone who wants have access to our backwards society?  There's nothing here worth hording, so I don't see what all the fuss is about.

29 October 2002
-I really know why "careful what you wish for; you just might get it" is a cliche.
-"Gutterflower" has been the soundtrack of the last week or so.  But I have all these slightly revised lyrics... I really want to rewrite "Sympathy" just a little so as to make it all work.  Ah well.
-Don't call me a psychic, it's been there for years.
-I miss debate more than I can express.  It hurts to think of a season going on & me having nothing to do with it till Nats.  But as so many people have reminded me in so many ways, I will never ever, for one second of my life, miss the Columbia tournament.

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