10.30.2006:   haircut
[no, this is not my haircut]

My barrette set of the metal detector at the airport and it was the last straw. I walked in to the barber shop in Portland and said "Do you cut women's hair?" The man there who was finishing his dinner said "No." I then asked if he knew anyone else who did, I just wanted a few inches off. He said "Eh, sit down...." I spent the next hour talking about Bulgaria and Romania and Ivan's many grandchildren as he took a few inches off and gave me some short layered something or other that got rave reviews from the lady at the post office. All I know is that it dries quickly. I'd been dithering about getting a new haircut for a month or so and walking into a barber shop and pointing at a picture on the wall seemed easier than trying to pick the exact super-perfect cut and style for me. More about Portland as I catch up on sleep and email. It was a fun trip.

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I was going to wait until my phone had arrived to tell this story, but I swear it's never going to show up so I'll just tell you this now. I got a phone. And when someone says "got a phone" you know they don't mean "I had Verizon come to my house and install a new landline" because even here, people are not doing the landline thing. Anyhow, this was sort of a compromise birthday present where I was asked what I wanted by a certain family member (it's not elegant, but it does work) and this was not exactly what I wanted, but it was something I could use and wouldn't pay for. At the time I decided to get a phone (prepaid something or other with a lot of minutes, I don't think it takes pictures) I was unsure whether my Mom was going to be in and out of the hospital for months while I was doing some heavy travelling, so it seemed like a good way to keep in touch. So, I got a phone.

Actually, I ordered a phone. From Amazon, who I normally don't do business with, except when birthdays and holidays roll around. And I ordered some minutes, which you order separately. They just send you a card with a code that you enter and it gives you the minutes like magic. All the gifts in my future will be secret codes. Well, my order was delayed. Perhaps my phone is popular. So I got the usual email from Amazon telling me my order is delayed because they've been able to automate decent service to some degree. Then my order was delayed some more. Amazon, trying to keep me happy said "Hey you know what, we know you must be frustrated because your shiny new product hasn't arrived at your doorstep." I wasn't really. "We're going to go ahead and split your order so that you don't have to wait for everything. Isn't that decent of us?"

And a few days later a box showed up at my house, a phone sized box. Inside it was a card, for one thousand minutes. My phone, if it ever arrives, probably doesn't work in Vermont anyhow.

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10.20.2006:   vtiff report
I finally wrote up the list of all the movies I saw at the Vermont International Film Festival. With many of these movies, I go digging around online to try to find information about the movie, the distributor or the filmmaker. Sometimes I can root out some information, especially for the feature-length films, but often I can't. I attribute this to Vermont's general net-shadowness. I figure making a little list of the movies with their names and links to what I could manage to find will help everyone be a bit more Googleable in the future. Maybe.
10.18.2006:   unbusy
I have a few friends who write these busyblogs where they tell you how busy they are all the time and how little time they have for anything else. I have been scooting around some lately, but I do not want this to become a busyblog, so I'll tell you about all the busy I am not.

I spent an afternoon walking around with my friend Lauren. Lauren is busy but because she doesn't also maintain a blog about it, she has some time to go walking. I took some pictures -- especially of no trespassing signs for some reason -- and put them up here: 12 signs + 10 others = autumn walk in vermont.

I watched thirty movies. Now, many of them were short, but this is still somewhat a test of endurance as well as a great way to see some interesting films. The VT International Film Festival was this past weekend and I had a good time there. However the "what I saw" web page will have to wait some more.

I had meals with friends. Now that I'm finally coming out of my "parents with possibly serious health problems" cocoon, I've been trying to be more social. I had dinner with Ola and her son, his fiancee and his fiancee's daughter. I had lunch with Greg -- we're getting along pretty well, which pleases me. I had dinner with Dave and Linda, good family friends. I had lunch with Lauren. I had dinner with Ken and Travis, friends of friends who recently moved to Vermont and came down to Burlington to see some movies with me.

I sent mail and got mail. Postcards from Finn and Judith and more stuff from Sandy Berman. Maple syrup powder to Dobbs and my old ibook battery to Apple. A book to Linda. A check to the postmaster. Paychecks to my bank.

I cashed out the change jar which was the last nebulous financial entanglement that G. and I had. He had forgotten about it; I had not. Probably best that way, he got a cool $40 that he wasn't expecting and I got to get it off my plate and feel maybe a little generous. While I was at the bank, I closed my account up. It was a secondary account that I had so that I could pay contractors with local checks instead of online checks that would take a few days to arrive and a few days to clear, from my main bank back in Washington. Ever since the credit union went to video tellers where you watch a woman on a tv screen even though she's right behind a wall, and more tv screens that show you the news and the stock reports while you wait to use a video teller, I've had very little use for them. I was hoping they'd ask me why I was closing my account but they never did.

I got published in Library Journal. Feel free to go read my article MetaFilter: Going Your Way about my online librarian-type job.

And, I also did a little work. You can read about it on librarian.net: two "day in the life" anecdotes. Things I haven't been doing include smoking, swimming (pool has been closed for a few weeks), sleeping (improving in that area though far from fixed) and roaming. I've been in the state for a week solid, feels almost odd.

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10.13.2006:   VTIFF!
I'm in Burlington for my annual movie watching binge. My usual stint has been cut from four days to three (one of which is over as of a few hours ago), but I'm making up for it in volume. I saw seventeen films, though most were under fifteen minutes. I'll do a full write-up this week but if anyone else is also at the festival, please say howdy to me. I'm in the jacket that looks like it's made of orange muppet fur.

If anyone knows a way to make Vox and Blogger cross-post to each other, please let me know. I'm partial to Blogger's "insert your posts right into your own website" feature, but I have a bunch of friends who live solidly in the Vox universe. In any case...

I've been having those water dreams again which are totally typical of me at times when my life is all over the place. Usually they're about boating disasters, or unusal restrooms. In this case, I was on a big ship which was at sea and rocking back and forth. At one point, the ship rocked back and did not go forth but kept going and was clearly turning over. I walked out of the boat as it sank by doing one of those Fred Astaire walk-on-ceiling things and wound up on a desert island. The setting was like the teevee show LOST with a bunch of stranded people standing around zombielike, staring at the ocean, tending to wounds, etc. I walked around saying hello to people saying "Hi, I'm Jessamyn, I'm the self-absorbed character." I think this may have to do with the fact that I just finished reading The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime which has a similar boat wreck in it.

In any case, things are looking a little more even keel around here. My Mom went to the oncologist who said "there was no follow-up needed for the lung cancer... [a]lthough it could recur, or another type might form, for now, I'm done with that as far as she's concerned." This is a huge relief and a really big deal. I'd like to say I'm now going to sleep for a week, but some victories still evade me.
10.10.2006:   garage intrigue
[I'm copy/pasting this from a little site I keep over at vox. I do my main blogging here, but every now and again I'll write a little essay there.]

So I'm at my Dad's place for the weekend. He had to get some little surgery thing done on his bellybutton and my stepmom was going out of town. I was going to hang out with him, do the heavy lifting and see my friend J who is a librarian nearby. I should have known bad things were going to happen when my friend J called from the hospital. Seems she's had her gall bladder removed in sort of an emergency fashion the day before. As you may know, my Mom has been in the hospital lately, and my sister caught the cold from hell. I was doing well, until....

I've been sleeping badly lately. Little noises drive me nuts. I assume this is stress, and seasonal changes, and quitting smoking (oh didn't I mention? guess who's irritable!) so I try to roll with it. Last night I noticed that the room I'm staying in had a pernicious hum. I traced it to the fan that was on in the garage. They call this guestroom here "the cottage" but it's a fancy room over/next to the garage. Anyhow, I turned it off but there was still some hum and I eventually got tired and fell asleep anyhow.

Tonight after my dad retired with a bottle of wine and a stack of magazines I decided to check out the garage. It's full of junk from the upstairs of the house that they're getting remodeled, I mean full. So I crawled around some, unplugged the flourescent lights that were humming and decided to close the door and see if I could tell if that took care of the hum. I just assumed there was an "open the garage door" button on the inside of the garage as well as the outside. There wasn't. The door closed, the light went off and I was locked in the goddamned garage on Saturday night, in the dark, and I'd just personally unplugged the lights from the hard-to-reach outlets in the ceiling. Fuck me.

It wasn't totally dark. The battery charger -- which I'm sure was also giving off noxious fumes -- jad a blinky LED that gave off just enough light to make out some shadows. I managed to climb on top of an upended couch to see if the garage door opener had an on/off switch on it (no). I felt around for a flashlight, nothing. I felt around the door to see if there was a push button opener there, nope. I tried opening the door by hand, nope. I did trip over a floor lamp which I managed to drag over to the socket where the battery charger was plugged in and bingo, lights. So now I'm locked in the goddamned garage on a Satuday night looking at myself all dirty and pissed off in the mirror thinking "You are a piece of work, you know that?"

Ideas that I try and discard: phones, but there aren't any there, ditto for walkie talkies and palm pilots. There is a DG One laptop in its original box and I think a) I feel like I'm in a fucking Zork game and 2) it would be a Slashdot-worthy hack if I could get the thing rigged up to send a message to anyone, maybe make a front page post to MetaFilter: "OMG, get me out of this godforsaken garage." In any case, Macgyver I am not, and hungry I am.

I decide maybe I can rouse my Dad now that the light is on and I only look like a partial shithead. I bang and holler and bang and holler and either he doesn't hear me, or he's partially unconscious or he's getting his gun. I don't even know if he has a gun but it occurs to me that this would be a truly terrible way to find out. No response from the big house, so I start investigating the door. Automatic garage doors aren't really that sophisticated. In fact this one had just a few parts that attach it all to the chain drive thing in the ceiling. It's a tinkertoy, basically. And while I may be locked in the garage with a bunch of silly furniture, I am also locked in the garage with a tool chest!

The two bolts holding the door to the chain drive have nuts of different sizes, meaning there were a lot of trips up and down to the tool chest. What do you think, SAE or metric? Metric. 14 mm and 12 mm. Once I got the door part off of the pull-the-door part, I could open the door enough to scoot under it, but any futher and the two parts jammed together and the door wouldn't go any higher. So this was a pickle. Fix it for now and never be able to open the door again, or stay in the garage like some idiot martyr. I propped it open using a stepstool and considered this. If I got squished under it, my Dad would come out in the morning, view my smushed corpse and be forever perplexed. I decided to set the garage door to open, using the "open door" button that I could now reach. The mechanism scoots along the ceiling without opening the door along with it. I open the door myself and prop it open with a ladder.

I am free! I'll fix it tomorrow. For now I need to figure out where all this freaking noise is coming from.

update: someone on IRC said last night that there must have been an emergency handle I could have pulled to have gotten me out of this mess more quickly. I asked my Dad about this today and he said there wasn't a handle, door's too old. He also thought the whole thing was funny. He also said that there is an open button on the inside... but when we went to look for it, it turned out to be two wires sticking out of the wall that you'd need to hold together to operate the door. No surprise I didn't know this.
10.05.2006:   leaf apocalypse
I left my camera at my Mom's house. It's okay, I have a backup camera. I've been walking around, as I do in early October here thinking "My gosh it's the loveliest place in the entire world. One of these days I should take a few pictures of this lovliness. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time...." and then it happens. It goes like this every year.

The sky clouds over. A few little drops fall. People head inside for warm cider and pumpkin whatever. I went to get drinks with a friend a bit of a drive away. When I got on the road to go home there was a howling maelstrom of leaf-pummeling wind and rain. The roads were slick with water and leaves. Headlights shone on tall curtains of undulating mist and spray. As I got closer to home, driving on smaller roads, the streets were yellow and orange with leaves and even branches.

I got up this morning and it's still lovely outside, with a lot of color, but there are also a lot of bare branches. You can notice that the foliage hues are starting to wane instead of emerge. Up until yesterday, Autumn was a "you just wait..." promise. This morning it's giving a "get the soup on" wave as it heads for the door. I don't have my camera with me, but I hope this gives you a picture.
10.03.2006:   rabbit, rabbit
October has been knockout lovely, which is super because it's otherwise been a bit of a rollercoaster. I've been down in Boxboro this weekend hanging out with my Mom who is home, but not supposed to drive or get in a car for the next month or so. Hanging out with her coincided nicely with my strong need to get/stay out of the house, so it was an extra good time: going for walks, taking insect pictures, eating all the food people brought over, sleeping til 10, running errands, feeling useful. My favorite part was staying out on the porch after everyone else had gone to sleep -- my princess-and-the-pea need to be the last person awake is part of my current troubles -- and listen to the acorns slowly drop off of the trees and bump bump bump down to the ground.

I've made some deals with myself to make sure that all my couch surfing and guestroom hopping doesn't detatch me entirely from my nice little life in Vermont. The specific problem, which I may not have mentioned, is this. There is a new roommate at the house who is going to help with bills once Ola joins the Peace Corps. He's nice, tidy and a little noisy having never lived in the country before. Once Ola leaves (before Thanksgiving is the current date) it will be the two of us. For now, it's the three of us -- one early riser (5 am) one late-to-bed-er (1 am) and one person who has a very hard time sleeping when other people are awake, especially in stressful times like these. I also do a lot of my work from home and the adjustments are a little hard to make. I'd rather be someplace that is guaranteed quiet at night rather than have ongoing conversations/discussions/talks/arguments about how much noise is too much noise and how can I possibly be kept awake by such tiny noises. I don't like being a light sleeper, but the times at which it's a problem are the worst possible times to work on it.

So, the wealth of guestrooms I've been staying in -- nice and quiet all of them -- has really given me the downtime I need to deal with all the other new and not-as-new stuff going on in my life lately. My deals are to swim whenever I'm near the pool, to try to keep the eating regimen pretty on track, to change out of PJs before noon and to not write any of my talks last minute. Starting in the end of October, I'll be on the road for work more than I'll be home and it may be just superstition, but I think that overplanning for some of this can't hurt.
Jessamyn is in...
Bethel VT

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17sep... novascotia
24sep... NH lib thing
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