Don't forget, I am having a party
Sorry about the absence. The devious home network that Greg has devised means that when we are both connected to the dial-up at once [22k each!] the ftp connection from the iMac doesn't seem to work. Hence writing stuff can be a total hassle. However, now that the rains have stopped and Greg has discovered Lawn Care as his newfound country calling, I get some time at 44k to call my own. Plus, with all the crap that has been going on in the world of librarianship, I have been devoting my attention elsewhere.
But we've been getting out somewhat. We headed up north to Bakersfield to visit my friend Clint. Slept on the guest waterbed, were awakened to blueberry waffles and looney tunes, drove around looking at the water and the trees and the weird little stores in three-story barns and marvelled at the absence of people, traffic, and places to get ice cream after nine pm. I forgot my wallet, so no trip to Canada.
We got back just in time to meet my friends Matthew and Michelle who came through Vermont collecting stories for their Getting to the Roots project collecting oral histories from radical folks in the New England area. I chatted with them on tape for an hour or two and we spent the rest of their visit watching the clouds, identifying birds, marvelling at the insane heat and subsequent downpour and lightning storm. Tonight we were planning on going to the Thunder Road Speedbowl to see some cars drive around but instead we're probably going to stay home and listen to the house be quiet. That is if we can keep the bats and sparrows out, which we have been doing with limited successes so far.
I've been trying my hand at some outdoor plant activities as well. I pruned the daylights out of the lagging lilac. I bought two rose bushes [small ones. rose sprigs? rose starts?] and then burnt all the leaves off of them by leaving them in the car. I've got impatiens starting to sprout inside and the garden bed by the house is roughly 73% weed free. This is a nice time of the summer season; before everything gets eaten by slugs and birds and before all my houseguests start saying "you know what you could do with this place to make it really cool...?" and before the housefly onslaught. For now it's just books and movies and grass cutting and dinner on the back deck and wireless access and seven operating systems and a million stars.
Saying you're worried
about something on your web page is in some ways different from really being worried
. Being able to say the name of the problem out loud, in and of itself means you can deal with it somewhat. That said, Greg gets back from his sister's college graduation and I'm a bit nervous about the whole deal. We've had this great relationship for nearly a year, I enjoy his company and he mine, we get along with each other's friends and families, we both like Vermont and, well, what else is there? Maybe it's all the people who have been telling me "Oh yeah I had this great
long distance relationship, until we moved in together..." Maybe it's reading my friend Ken's Cohabitation Survey results
and thinking "Wow, there sure is a lot ot talk about." Maybe it's just that things have been fine so far and going in for a drastic change seems like borrowing trouble. My major concern is whether I'm just too selfish
to share this much space with someone else. This has two downsides 1) trouble in relationships, and 2) being selfish
is lame. Right now I'm rooting for myself [and Greg] to make this work in some weird new way where we are able to enjoy each other's company without boring each other to death or irritating the heck out of one another.
Of course, thinking about this endlessly means I haven't been sleeping too well. Having no regular job means that sleep disturbances are no big deal. Non-stop rain means that sleeping during the day is easy. Some people freak out when they're stressed. Me, I freak IN. I caught myself cleaning out the toaster oven this morning. Who cleans a toaster oven? Want your house to be neat as a pin? Invite a stressed out librarian over and leave her there with some coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches. A common refrain is that dull women have immaculate houses. My corollary to this is that fretting techies have empty inboxes. Mine stands at eleven right now.
You know that the US is going into Afghani villages in search of Taliban leaders and accusing people of harboring the [unseen] enemy and killing people who get in their way, including teenagers. You know that, don't you
And how about these jackasses whose site is a "sponsored link" on Google when you search for taliban? There are many wonderful reasons to be against terrorism that have nothing to do with drugs, and some good reasons you might want to stay away from drugs that have little to do with terrorism, but it's easier for the fearmongers to get you to hate and fear these two evils together, and have them linked as twin evils in your minds. Most, but not all of the arguments on this page -- arguments you may have seen in abbreviated form during the superbowl - employ a logical fallacy that I learned to identify in debate classes in high school. They also claim that "drug and terror organizations" are getting unruly and unwieldy due to "[using] the global economy to expand the scope, scale and reach of their activities and, as a result, their ability to harm American citizens and to damage U.S. interests is dramatically expanding" which is sort of funny because it's the same thing that I often say about the US and global capitalism.
I think I finally jerked my sleeping schedule into line.
- Tuesday: woke up at 8:30 am, did not go to sleep
- Wednesday: went to sleep at 11 am, woke up at 5 pm, went to sleep at midnight
- Thursday: woke up at 11 am, did not go to sleep
- Friday: went to sleep at 6 am, woke up at 1 pm
- Saturday: went to sleep at 3 am, woke up at 11
It's midnight now and I'm feeling a bit sleepy. There's something nice and useful about sleeping through the day divider. It makes it easier to know what day it is when you wake up and that seems to be when everyone else is asleep so while you might get a lot of reading
done if you're up, there's rarely anyone else to talk to.
15jun02 . . . . .
where to begin?
Arrived on Vermont soil at sometime Wednesday morning. I had a redeye flight
which was basically like skipping a night of sleep. I got on board, started to read, and two hours later the sun was coming up. Goodnight moon. As I was flying into Burlington, I was amazed at how green everything was. The neat thing is that I say this every year and yet still it has the power to capture my attention. Greg and I hung out in Burlington rather than going home, because was flying out the next day [sister's graduation -- congratulations Robin
!]. So, I got to make the drive back to my place, with all the accompanying apprehension, alone. Of course, the place is fine, about as messy as I remember it and someone had dressed up the yoda head in anticipation of my arrival. Only one major thing had changed, the dial-up number
As I've discussed ad nauseum, I pay by the minute for dial-up access as well as paying monthly for my ISP. I've had four ISPs in the past five years. The current number I call is a capped line, meaning that my charges max out around $22 per month. This is bearable but not optimal. There is no hope of ever having DSL or cable modem, it's just too far. I am not complaining, there are many other fine benefits to carefree rural living. So, just to spite me it seems, my current ISP changed from an actual phone number three towns over, to a "virtual number" meaning a number that is supposed to be local, but isn't. My options were to stick with them and pay long distance fees to get online, or go with the new game in town. The new game in town is a service provided by my phone company, Topsham Telephone. $20/mo and a geniune local number to call. They have partnered with a company with the confidence-inspiring name of Nickelville. As a former ISP employee, their sign-up form set all my alarm bells off: the supposed ISP has no website, no mention was made of what my email address would be, what my storage limits were, and refunds would only be given after five days with no email. Additionally, instead of some sort of online secure signup system, I got a piece of paper to fill out which asked for my social security number [I didn't provide it, and they said that was fine, begging he question of why they ask for it in the first place], my preferred user name, my credit card number and my password. I guess they'd keep this on file in case I forgot it. My password, written on a piece of paper!
I have found that playing the slick country mouse and being a pain in the ass about stuff like this is a great way to assure yourself of a long lonely summer in town and slow phone repair, so I asked a few questions, offered to design a web page for them and plunked down $30 [$10 signup fee, natch] along with my piece of paper. They said my account would be up in 1-4 days. This was after I had driven the 15 miles to the phone company office, just to make sure it wouldn't take a week. By the time I got home, my account was activated and there was a phone call from the phone company to let me know this, since the confirmation letter probably wouldn't arrive until Monday. Hello Vermont.
My two heavy bags are packed and my desk is totally cleaned off except for this computer and a list entitled ToDo
[meaning "all" in Spanish I think...]. I decided to leave my laptop here in Seattle Since I already have four computers in Vermont. Yes, four. When I called Greg
to ask about bringing the laptop he said it might be a good idea because even though there's four computers (4) there still isn't one that can be plugged into the printer to print stuff. I figured it would be easier to solve that problem some other way than to carry eight pounds of laptop through the airport metal detector. I generally wind up half-undressed, carrying more of my clothes than I wear, once I've taken off my belt and jacket and boots and jewelry and hair doinkers at the airport. I was wondering about the etiquette involved in just showing up in your PJs for a redeye flight but I am trying to be less conspicuous, not more. I did pack the PJs just in case.....
Trivia went well, questions are linked here. I am happy to be done with it for now, it was a lot of damned work. I also hate saying goodbye to people so there is a weird relief that I'm all done with that. It's a strange sort of goodbye because it's not like goodbye forever, but it's more than goodbye for the week. It's a goodbye to couples that may not be couples when you get back, and goodbye to your single friends that may have new partners by the time you return. And breakfasts in restaurants that may go under, or get popular, and buildings that may be rubble, or holes, or new buildings, come November. It's weird, I don't have this same issue in reverse. Vermont, and the people there, and my family and friends on the East Coast, seem more used to my changes -- I did leave them for years a decade ago -- and the landscape is more stable in Vermont. Maybe not in Boston, but I never did like Boston much anyhow. The hardest goodbyes will likely be the housepets here, because not only am I leaving them and their unfailing companionship and their early morning wake-up routines, but I'm also leaving housepet pseudo-ownership for another six months, though some might argue that living with a boyfriend may have some of the same characteristics, I'm not convinced.
08jun02 . . . . .
So, I saw one of the best movies
I've ever seen last night, in a tiny crowded theater
that we got to at the last minute. The movie is called For All Mankind
and it's basically a collection of home movies from space. All the astronauts that went to the moon between 1968-1972 [when I was just a tiny kid] were outfitted with 16 mm cameras. This movie
puts a lot of that footage
together, and adds a lot of tense shots of mission control, music from Brian Eno and voice overs by the astronauts themselves describing what it was like to be the first people to ever see the Earth from anyplace that was not, well, the Earth. The film seem to take place in a time before irony, when people were really eager to do the best job they could and a lotof the narration which would seem cheesy if talking about any other subject, becomes reverential. Even the planting of the American flag
on the lunar surface -- an action that nowadays would take place with huge amoutns of chest-thumping and "we're number one!" crap accompanying it -- seems like an achievement for the entire planet, not just the men who did the moonwalk. The film also has a sense of humor, and you see the astronauts clowning around, taking pratfalls on the moon, messing around in zero gravity and complaining about the bodily functions of other atronauts.
There's also a solar eclipse coming up on Monday, for all you folks in the Western US. Check the sky right about 5 pm.
04jun02 . . . . .
last month with the old registrar
I finally did it, I transferred my last domain
away from godforsaken Verisign
and to my preferred domain registrar, Gandi
. They're French, they charge in Euros and they do everything by email. So long Verisign
and your bogus renewal notices
and your complicated interface and your incredible assertion that trust is really what you should base your business relationships on
, as oposed to say, good service, low prices or just general lack of shitheadedness. It went seamlessly. Thanks again to eskimo.com
who has been hosting my major domains since 1996.
I'm tired of linking to new trivia questions, all further trivia pages will be linked here. This week trivia attendance was down almost 70% so I did two rounds, saved the good questions for next week, and drank a coupla [free] silly cocktails. Thanks for everyone who showed and stuck with me through the Vice Presidential Trivia category. Next week will be my last week as trvia master for probably six months, so if you've been meaning to show up, this would be your week.
For my East Coast readers, 4th of July weekend BBQ will be happening again this year. Details, such as they are, are here. Everyone is pretty much welcome, and thanks to Fred, I have a croquet set.
02jun02 . . . . .
last month in the new place
I always feel that if I start a month with a vengeance, I can get away with slacking off later on. This weekend got me going on a Wumpus Hunt
, a puzzle hunt of sorts through downtown Seattle where rhyming clues brought us a number of places to find phrases that needed to be filled into acrostics whch itself fed a meta-acrostic containing the final clue. There were about four teams, maybe 20 people, and the sun was out and the ride free area was, well, free. I had a great time, thanks mucho to Dan and Lisa for organizing and running the whole event and my lovely team Robert
. Then I went home and wrote trivia questions, read a whole book, slept in preparation for yesterday in which I..... went to brunch, ate too much food, tried to convincingly admire other people's babies
while resigning myself to never being able to finish a sentence, and enjoyed both the sunshine and a fire in the fireplace. Then off to a Blank White Card Game
where the owner of the gelateria
[with a fire in the fireplace, again] was so intrigued by our strange scribblings that he gave us all two-for-one gelato coupons. New cards are in the same place as the old cards
. Nina just let me know that there is an article in Games Magazine about BWC this month, exciting.
After a quick trip home to put on something fancier than the same pants I'd been wearing all week, I went out to my friend James Whetzel's house for a house concert . James is an accomplished musician in a lot of different cultural traditions and last night he was playing some Indian classical music, doing some Tuvan throat singing
and showing us a bit of palm wine guitar music [though not all at once]. He was accompanied by his friend Lowell Lybarger on tabla who did an impressive tabla tutorial for us and, if this is the proper verb, just whaled on those tablas [wailed? waled?]. We all got to view this in the comfort of James's parents living room and get served beer by his brother and play with the dog, what a neat evening.
This week I pack, next week I leave. I'm having a BBQ for the 4th of July weekend which anyone in the Vermont area is welcome to come to. Sparse accomodations but lovely company.
You know, it seems that in a day and age where people are still made to admit they're Jewish before being murdered by extremists, you'd think people might want to be more careful about their "shyster" characters not inadvertently resembling lousy Jewish stereotypes. You might think that, anyhow.