[this is the sound I start making when I begin talking really really quickly....]

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Jessamyn is in...

the archives

04may... greg b'day
11may... lisa
13may... trivia
20may... trivia
21may... mike
24may... anne
25may... SAW party
26may... matt
27may... trivia
01jun... wumpus
11jun... VT
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28may02 . . . . . victim of my own success
Wow, where the hell have I been? I spent last week fruiting around in the nice weather and then the weekend came, with visitors, and I realized I hadn't prepped for the trivia game yet. Someone asked me last night "What do you get out of all of this?" and the answer was, besides dinner, and some beer: Purpose. Since I've been only marginally employed for the past few months, having a regularly scheduled thing to do and plan for has become a more important driving force in getting me out of the house and getting me intellectually interested in the outside world. Without something to do, I'd stay in, read books and write postcards, and cook all day. The postcards would get increasingly duller and duller and/or annoyingly more self-referential. Sort of like how people write in their letters "I wanted to write to you because...." as if that part isn't already sort of self-evident.

So, Saturday after hanging out with my friend Anne, I put my nose the the grindstone and churned out another 60 or so questions so that I could go to Folklife on Monday. I got all kinds of sidetracked reading about Italian castrati and Chinese court eunuchs [don't ask me how] and then Saturday was over. Sunday, I had brunch with Matt and Damon and Amanda, then Damon burned some CDs for me to send to Greg, wasting away in Vermont -- old episodes of Jackass, some cartoons and some Apple manuals for all the noodling I'm sure he'll be doing with my iMac. Trivia last night was crazy. Ten teams and like 50 people who had been drinking since lunch. Fortunately, I think I'm at my best when dealing with rowdy groups of folks and the time just flew by. Here's the questions. I've got two more weeks of this before I head East.

This week I an barely employed helping ETS finish up their test scoring. Just enough work to keep me looking for more, not enough to make me feel workingly productive. JetBlue -- the airline I'll be flying into VT -- let's you take three checked bags and so now I am trying to re-conceptualize my trip to Burning Man to include maybe leaving from the East Coast. Woe is me at the baggage check area if they dig through my stuff and find the sandy dusty detritus from several years on the playa and I need to explain why I'm taking it all with me on a one way trip East.

22may02 . . . . . scoot
I'm trying out a new div here in my horribly wonky CSS. I found this new quotation by my namesake:

The tragedy of our time is not that we are so eye centered, so appearance besotted. The tragedy is that we do not know what we like until we are told by our advertisers and entertainers. -- Jessamyn West, Love Is Not What You Think (1959)

That look okay? Good. She's so cool. I made my plans to head back East, after my last trivia night. This week's questions seemed to hit spot-on, or perhaps I was just more relaxed because I took the bus instead of driving and so partook freely of the quizmaster complimentary beer. Once I nail down a date for leaving, everything becomes a race to get done before I go. See everyone, fix everything, pack everything, finalize logistics, etc. I get hung up on endings. I like farewells to be done correctly or not at all. Since I'm coming back sometime in November [when? I don't know] I'd rather miss saying goodbye than try to do it in some weird chase-down-the-train fashion.

I tend to evaluate events and episodes only once they're finished, which means I worry excessively about getting the ending right. The relationship is considered a sucess not if we are still friends but if it ended well, especiallyif it is well and truly over. Same thing with jobs, same thing with a trip to the library. I am trying to get over this, to get more joy from process and less from results but I still find myself saying things like "That's nice that you'll try to do better. How about if you just do better and save me the apologies?" I cringe when I listen to myself, but this is just a symptom that I am done with the city again for another half-year. Tired of avoiding people I don't want to have mindless chit-chat with at the supermarket, tired of the phone ringing with mysterious salespeople who won't leave a message, tired of clenching my jaw when I leave the house because of all the randomness that seems to greet me when I step outside. All these things were my lifeblood when I got to town six months ago, and I'm sure they will be again when I return in the Winter. I'm not sure what I would do if I weren't able to leave. I wonder sometimes what other people do.

That said, if you're reading this and thinking "gee, I should try to see her before I leave" you've got three weekends left. The film festival is coming up. I like movies.

19may02 . . . . . the shopping
[ I got a rock ] the shopping list: doormat, thing to keep the mail from getting wet in the mailbox, sneakers

what I got: five records, eight yo-yos, eight small stuffed animals [one beanie bee], a print inker, an apple corer, a bungee cord with clips on it, a notepad with suction cups, four plastic hooks, a small jar of safety pins, a plate of cookies, a pair of mint condition 501s [too small], three pairs of socks, a t-shirt, an old Scrabble set [wood tiles!], a Zippy the Pinhead comic book, six videos [sent to Greg, all top notch movies], a tea rack, a thing to keep the mail from getting wet, a librarian dress, two metal coffee cups, a cellulite scrubber, a computer drawing tablet [probably broken], and a pair of flannel pj's.

things I did not get: 59¢ rock [pictured], Vans that were one size too small, plastic biohazard bag containing "sock left in Dr. Jones office, CFH, 4th Floor" [a steal at 39¢ !], any Seattle high school band albums

the total damage: $16.50

A few guys from a band called Jackie O Motherfucker were couch crashers this weekend and have raised the bar for all future houseguests. They made their own coffee with coffee they had brought themselves, they shared some of those nutty Canadian digestive biscuits with us, and they did their own dishes, and some of mine. I hope I'm not blowing their punk rock cover by saying all this, but they were charming visitors.

18may02 . . . . . the company of women
[ stop for me, it's the claw ] It's been a busy week, even though I feel like I've spent all my days in the backyard watching the birds. Saw a downy woodpecker yesterday, they are very small.

Over the weekend I moved some couches. Tuesday was a long rambly walk and then the symphony with Sara, presenting a piece as part of the Silk Road project. I got to hear four or five instruments I'd never even heard of before: sheng, ney, ehru, santur, pipa. I was wringing my hands in Scrabble glee before the evening was out. And that Yo-yo Ma sure is a charmer. Wednesday was burritos with Dawn. Yesterday was more sun and reading and the library. Today was a big parade in Ballard, since it is Norwegian Independence Day, after all.

I've done a lot of talking on the phone this week too and I've found that, more often than not, I'm talking to women, or as I like to call them "my lady friends." As long as I can remember, I've had more male friends than female friends. I'd usually have one close female friend and a gaggle of male aquaintances. When I wasn't dating anyone, this was often a source of amusement since I'd bring a new guy to every party. Just a friend, of course, but a new friend most times. And I always wondered if there wasn't something somehow wrong with me that I didn't get along with women, people of my own gender. I knew a lot of women, but I never really clicked with them. Found them too girly, or too couple-y with their boyfriends, or just too.... timid somehow. They didn't like what I liked and I didn't like them.

Lately, especially this week for some reason, I've found myself in the company of women more often than not, and it's been neat. I have smart, talented, loudmouth, well-travelled, well rounded female friends who like what I like. We revel in each other's strengths and don't worry if we're looking grubby, or feeling whiny, or talking loudly. I can chit-chat about boys and sex and not worry that I'm coming on to them, or creating secret unspoken comparisons, or embarassing them. I never, ever, have them make jokes at my expense and then say they were "just kidding" and none of them would let their boyfriends drive their cars if they were fully capable of driving them themselves. All my guy friends are still around, just a few of them have girlfriends or a few of them are looking too hard to find new girlfriends. Due to my aforementioned previous lack of female friends, I am like the kiss of death for someone actively trying to meet girls.

I'm not sure if the switchover has to do with me being in a relationship and so giving off less of a girl vibe, or maybe it's being in a relationship and requiring more of a girl vibe, or living with male roomates and getting quite enough of the guy vibe. Either way, it's been a nice week.

14may02 . . . . . endnotes
So I got the phone call I'd been waiting for since I made these crazy plans months ago "Hey, it's Greg and I'm at your house in Vermont and it all looks great!" basically the nutty scheme [does everyone consider the plans they make to be a series of nutty schemes, or is this a quirk that is mine alone?] was for him to meet me in Vermont once he moved out of his place in Milwaukee. He wound up moving earlier than I was planning to get there and so he'll be chilling on his own for a few weeks before I make my way out there. He drove from Milwaukee, arriving at my place on Sunday evening. Whenever I return to Vermont, the last ten miles of the drive are very tensemaking. I am convinced that the barn has fallen down, the house is filled with rats or garbage [or both] or that evil people have moved in and will refuse to leave. This year -- for the first time ever -- I had a caretaker who was not a flake or an idiot, and the house was only empty for like 18 hours between residents. Greg got there, let himself in, and it looked just like it was supposed to look, maybe with a little less food than usual. I'm really excited, and just a bit nervous, to get to be spending at least a few months with him there, if not more.

Trivia last night was a personal nightmare, because I forgot my last page of questions. However, everyone seemed to have a good time and I just made the last round shorter than it might have been. People like plastic junk for third prizes better than they like postcards. Note bene. Questions are here. I had some delicious schnitzel for dinner there too. Google Answers has earned me enough money to pay half my rent this month, which is more of a statement on my low rent than my mad reference skills. You can peek at some of my answers here.

12may02 . . . . . my mom, your mom
[ happy mother's day mom! ] Ah Mother's Day. Originally celebrated by all sorts of people, but codified as an American holiday by Woodrow Wilson at the urging of Anna May Jarvis, a woman whose mother had recently died and suggested it as "Mother's Friendship Day" to be celebrated with white carnations. The holiday got away from her thereafter and became a commercialized card and candy selling shopfest, Jarvis herself filed lawsuits to stop some Mother's Day celebrations and spent the rest of her life campaigning aginst the holiday's overcommercialization. Jarvis died at 84 years old, never having been a mother herself, having spent most of her money in an effort to stop the commercialization of the holiday she is credited as founding.

"This is not what I intended ... I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit!" she said from her nursing home where every Mother's Day her room had been filled with cards from all over the world.

I called my Mom, told her how happy I was to be related to her, and left it at that. I like my Mom an awful lot. I am a total trivia pain in the ass nowadays, I blame her for that.

07may02 . . . . . barf, bite and brag
Woke up yesterday with the cat in my bed making those hurk hurk hurk sounds indicating imminent puking. Tossed him out where he threw up onto my carpet. Fell asleep to the sounds of him eating his own vomit. Woke up later and it was like it had never happened.

Trivia last night was pretty good except some complained that the questions were "too easy" amazingly. Here they are, for your perusal, you be the judge. More recent creative expressions of mine are in the Blank White Cards archive.

I am now a one-star [out of five] researcher on Google Answers, if you can believe it. Any further bitching I do will happen over at librarian.net. Meanwhile my article has been published in American Libraries magazine which should offset the potential damage to my reputation.

In the meantime, I am expending all my HTML energies getting the all-php version of my booklist up and running which involves a whole bunch of CSS and a minor amount of hair tearing and imploring Greg to speak English [instead of tech, I speak tech, but not like he speaks tech] when he tries to explain it to me. I took a good picture of a hanging bushtit nest near my house, and identified the mystery bird in my backyard, but all the visual aids will have to wait until I have time to spare for minor image manipulation.

04may02 . . . . . happy birthday, dear greg
[ happy birthday greg ] Yesterday I found an entire unused sheet of Happy Birthday stamps in a parking lot in the International District.

Today is Greg's birthday. His birthday has interesting numbers that make it easy to remember: 5/4/76. I spent a lot of my day running around and being moderately worried that I would blow it and manage somehow not to call. This led to some amusing little freakout moments like trying to call Wisconsin information on a friend's cell phone, using my calling card so it wouldn't charge them and then getting disconnected due to a lack of signal because I am such a cel phone phobe [is that the word? when you absolutely want everyone talking a a cell phone in public to receive a nasty static electricity shock right on their ear, thus causing them to drop their phone on the ground where it promptly gets eaten by a grue. is that what it's called?] that I hide out in cement-lined hallways to make my cellular calls. So, after brunch, and a weird estate sale [where I spent three bucks on stationery, a labelmaker and some talc from the 1950's] and a trip to the hardware store, and a visit to my friend Sean [where I got, amazingly, another labelmaker] and a rousing Blank White Card game, I finally got myself back home for a quickie phone call, assurances to call again before we see each other a month from now, and then a lively evening of cleanup and furniture moving at home on a Saturday night while Greg went out celebrating with his friends. Long distance relationships rarely suck, from my perspective, but this day was a notable exception.

02may02 . . . . . the picture and the pencil in my head
Last night I went to sleep with a pencil stuck in my hair, librarian-style. This morning it was still in my hair when I woke up. Old stereotypes die hard.

Tonight, I forgot to bring my camera to the Jason Webley show which is just as well because the pictures wouldn't make sense anyhow. He played at the Skansonia which is a high end ferry boat in Lake Union. A lot of folks were assembling early and I noticed I was about ten years older than everyone else. Webley is high concept. At his last show he went off on the water somewhere and hadn't been heard from since, or so the mythology goes. At this show, he appeared, dripping wet and nearly naked, on the stern of the boat and slowly staggered through the crowd to the front of the room where he was dressed [by others] in an orange robe, his hat, and his accordian, and regaled us with sailor songs, harvest songs, seed packages, theatrical careening about, and some good accordian playing and gravelly singing. At the wrap up of the inside part of the show, he brought out a giant asparagus [he has a vegetable theme going on] with some acomplices and directed everyone to "follow that asparagus" which everyone did. Hundreds of people walked down the street to Gasworks Park where the 15 foot asparagus was erected at the top of the hill like a giant maypole and people danced around it in the dark to the sounds of the accordian.

When the spirits call you,
There aint no wrong or right
If we want to eat tomorrow
we'll have to sow our seeds tonight

01may02 . . . . . trivia oh trivia oh have you met trivia?
[yeah go let your freak flag fly] Trivia last night was big fun. First off, the day began by my nice dentist telling me that I didn't need a root canal. Then I hoofed it over to the People's Pub and trivia began. People seemed to like it, the winners were distributed among all the teams over three matches, and I told a few good jokes and got a free dinner and a beer. I made my own notepads and I made my own third prize packages. The list of questions that I asked is here. I'll try to keep archiving them as I go.

Today is May Day, known to many as the Workers Day. It symbolizes the success of labor and labor organizers of winning the right to an eight hour work day. On May 1st in 1886 half a million workers took to the streets nationwide to agitate in support of the eight hour day. Over time, the day has grown in prominence as a labor holiday all over the world, but in the US it is seen as more of a "commie holiday" and not as widely celebrated. May Day also has historical meaning as the pagan/Celtic hoiliday Beltane where flocks were moved to summer pastures and the fertility of the earth [maypole, natch] was celebrated. May Day is also Phone in Sick day for those who don't get the day off, like folks in the US and Canada.

My best advice is to do something today that will make you deliciously happy, no matter what your political or spiritual leanings.