Jessamyn is in...|
29apr03 . . . .
back, unslept, presented
John Crowley wrote a book called Little Big which is a fantastic tale of generations of semi-magical people living out their lives. At one point, one of the characters gets her Sleep stolen and becomes destined to wander the halls of the big family house at night, always a bit groggy. That is how I have been feeling this month; I can't seem to get eight hours of sleep no matter how perfect the circumstances.
So I'm back in Boston and gave a talk at MIT yesterday which went well but for some reason didn't seem to go amazingly. I usually get energized by giving speeches to big groups of people and this time I felt really out of it. This may have been because I was the after lunch speaker, or it may have been that I told the organizers that I didn't eat fish and then we went to Legal Seafood where we tried to feed twelve people in an hour, or it may have been that it was too hot in the room and I didn't want to disrobe in front of a big audience [over 150 people!] so I just sweated and gritted my teeth. The problem may have been that my talks are fairly informal and everyone else this time had really snappy PowerPoint presentations that seemed polished and fancy.
The notes for my talk are here. It went OK. My friends said it was good, Greg liked it, but when I went out to cool off in the restroom after my talk, I saw on one of the evaluations sheets [that were sitting out on the table] that someone had given me and my talk a two ... out of five. Now maybe that was from the lady who slept through the whole presentation -- perhaps that's what happens when you don't have any animation in your overheads -- but it gave me a sinking "I am a bug" feeling that didn't quite leave until I was safe at my sister's house, playing with cats, reading magazines and done for a day or two with travel and talking and nametags and library philosophy. More about the trip in a day or two.
22apr03 . . . .
Made it to the far side of South Dakota in two days of serious driving, getting to Milwaukee tomorrow. I am staying in a hotel that I paid for, by myself, for the second time in my entire life. The first time was last night in Bozeman. I am proud that I was able to negotiate the calling card/laptop/hotel phone labyrinth. I am not proud that I seem to have blown the [admittedly rinky-dink] speakers of the radio of the car that I have been entrusted to drive cross-country. However, my punishment -- having to listen to nothing but baseball on AM radio as a result -- seems to fit the crime somehow. Speaking of noxious radio, do you think maybe all or most of the hubbub about the Dixie Chicks may have been manufactured by ClearChannel? More on Tim Robbins and media censorship.
I get to Boston hopefully Saturday; it's been a fun drive so far.
18apr03 . . . .
Here is a link to what the doctor said. I am through talking about hormones unless something changes.
Also, the place where I have been staying has cable TV. I have been watching a little bit of it. I saw Tim Robbins talking at the National Press Club a few days back and my jaw totally dropped. As you likely know, he got disinvited [that is becoming a popular word in this country lately] to the Baseball Hall of Fame when his and his wife Susan Sarandon's anti-war sentiments became widely known. Actually, the entire event they were going to was cancelled. He gave this speech. I'm a pretty crotchety person lately, so it takes a lot to really get my blood going one way or the other, but this speech was amazing and actually gave me a twinge of hopefulness where I've previously felt nothing but betrayal and impending doom. I recommend giving it a read.
We need leaders, not pragmatists that cower before the spin zones of former entertainment journalists. We need leaders who can understand the Constitution, congressman who don't in a moment of fear abdicate their most important power, the right to declare war to the executive branch. And, please, can we please stop the congressional sing-a- longs?
In this time when a citizenry applauds the liberation of a country as it lives in fear of its own freedom, when an administration official releases an attack ad questioning the patriotism of a legless Vietnam veteran running for Congress, when people all over the country fear reprisal if they use their right to free speech, it is time to get angry. It is time to get fierce. And it doesn't take much to shift the tide.
15apr03 . . . .
negative tax bracket
Finished up my taxes. Happy to note that I am in a negative tax bracket. While that's not super great news for me -- I'd like to be earning a bit more than that -- it does put me in the same camp as Enron who was in an even higher negative bracket than me. Any money I don't give to the War Machine is okay by me.
So I had been feeling like a whiny pain in the ass this week and decided not to update until I'd taken some control of my life. Here's what I've been doing:
- wrapped up work. I am calling this new breed of ultra-fireable, no benefits, marginally employed folks The New Carnies.
- went in for the MRI for which I still have a giant bruise on the inside of my forearm. I can't explain how unnerving it was to be locked into the crazy MRI headcage and then hear the guy say "Okay I'm going to do the injection now..." apparently my doctor was supposed to tell me about all of this but all he had said was "you need an MRI, talk to the girls at the front desk" The stuff they put in your arm -- gadolinium -- you can taste in your mouth a few seconds later, creeeeepy. Anyhow, it's over and I learn more on Thursday.
- bought my tickets for Vermont and then twelve hours later my friends told me "Hey we'd love for you to drive our car back East..." so I'm switching my tickets and driving back, starting Monday. If you need or want a ride, let me know, soon.
- partially moved out of my plastery noisy house to stay with my friend Scott whose roomate is away for a week or so. I had forgotten what it was like to sleep through the night and not wake up in the dark wheezing or listening to dogs wrestling.
- also made tentative plans to drive from Seattle to North Carolina in August, this will probably be a vacation for Greg and I, if it all goes well.
I'm still feeling pretty out of it as a result of a few straight weeks of work and worry and a lot of stuff coming up. I am working on my MIT talk, something about cooperative information systems, since other people are talking about RSS and blogs. I know a lot of people hate to travel but I really can't wait to get back on the road again, it's been too long.
11apr03 . . . .
Got my period today. The only reason I am mentioning it is because it's been months, like five or six. Those of you who know me know that I am not one of those skinny girls who doesn't menstruate, and I'm sure as hell not pregnant. So what's the deal? I don't know. I've been going to the doctor a lot lately. First my regular doc and then the endocrinologist, The endo. doc is in the clinic where they also do fertility work, so you can imagine what the waiting room is like -- very nicely designed with a bunch of rich-looking women sitting agitatedly inside. When you tell the doc here that you have no idea when your last period was [a typical question in most doctor's offices] they look at you as if you're somehow weirdly negligent in body maintenance. Actually it's sort of the reverse. I assume whatever my body does is at some level normal, unless it's making me very sick or very unhappy. Consequently, I don't track the minutae of my various inflows and outgos. In any case, the doc gave me some pills [low level progesterone if I recall correctly] to jumpstart the process and sure enough....
My blood chemistry is mostly normal, I feel healthy, my thyroid is normal. This weekend I go in for an MRI to check my pituitary gland. It's weird, aside from family and a few friends, I haven't mentioned this to anyone yet, I think because I don't want them to worry. I'm a bit of a control freak and I think I like to keep all the worrying for myself. Dealing with other people worrying about me is a bigger stressor often than whatever the thing was to begin with. And now that I have my period, for some reason, it seems like less of a big deal. Updates will be here as I get them.
10apr03 . . . .
things to do with time you would spend breathing
I have a new picture up on my main page. It's a sort of neat agglomeration of friends, cops, and Larry Lessig [sort of], check it out. The blurry gal with the hula hoop is my friend Holly. I popped in to Conor Byrne's to see "Miss H's variety show" drawn in by my friend Dawn and a familar flyer that said "No Act Too Weird". Turns out, its an open mike and variety show run by Holly, herself an Odd Stock favorite. Sort of a perpetuation of a long dormant good thing. Holly was happy to see me and brought me up on stage to show people the lady who "started it all". I was less than scintillating and even forgot to tell my chicken coop joke, but the evening was fun. Holly does some hula hooping during intermission. Tuesday nights in Ballard catch it if you can.
I bought my tickets to go back to Vermont. I leave in under two weeks. As much as I love Seattle, the near constant house renovations [noise, dust and the absence of a living room] and lack of proximity to Greg and the moon have left me craving the still nights and my own space.
08apr03 . . . .
things to do with time you would spend sleeping
Since I've hit the 100-hour mark after a little over two weeks of working, I've found that sleep is just a distant memory. This house has its share of things that keep me awake [construction, whiny dogs, late night drunken roomates, plaster dust everywhere] but I think my bad attitude is making me lose more sleep than all of those put together, almost. So, I've decided to look at the lack of sleep as an opportunity [must be the job rubbing off on me] and see if I can get a lot done between the hours of 5:30 and 7:00 am when I might be sleeping but am coughing and wheezing instead. Things like read books, make mix CDs, work on book covers for friends, catch up on email, take long baths, spend quality time with the cat, plan my escape. I'm on Day One and it's going okay so far. Escape comes in roughly two weeks.
04apr03 . . . .
okay I'm over it
I'm not sure how much of this story I have mentioned before. When I bought my house in Vermont it came with some sugaring equipment: an evaporator, some stovepipes, misc little junk. Sap runs in March and I am almost never there in March so I've never put it to any use and it's sat in the barn, gathering dust and other barn gunk. A ways back I got an email from a relative stranger saying that he knew that I had this equipment and was I interested in getting rid of it? I offered to trade it to him for a good typewriter, a record player and a shovel [as I recall] and the deal was struck. He came to my place and did the swap with my caretaker. I would get email updates from him every once in a while. Yesterday I got a box at the post office that not only had two small containers of the smokiest, darkest, most delicious syrup I'd ever had, but also a letter and a CD with pictures of the whole operation and a hearty "thank you". Such a delight. I feel like a total hero and all I did was say "yes"
That first day of boiling ended with a broken hydrometer, very little syrup and a scorched evaporator pan, but also a new friendship with the 12 year old kid who's been sugaring for 4 years already..."
01apr03 . . . .
It is only because I am in a good mood, and not the evil bitter mood I was in last week that I can say this... Look, I was a weird kid in elementary school and especially in junior high. People would fuck with me because I was awkward and got flustered easily and especially because if someone was being a jackass to me, if there was the slimmest chance they were sincere, I tried to be nice to them. I tried to understand what they were saying to me and tried to treat them with respect. This, of course, made it even more hilarious when they were asking me how often I washed my hair [you can never wash it too much in junior high] or whether I would like to date their friend [never a serious request, apparently it was a joke to even think of dating me in seventh grade]. Laughter would ensue, cruel laughter. So, I know you didn't really mean it, and I know you think I don't have a sense of humor when I say this, but fuck you and your stupid April Fool's gag that you played on me. I trusted you. This entry is directed at no one in particular and dedicated to all the nerds like me.