profit vs. hope
power vs. salvation
money vs. magic
-- Small Farmer's Journal
searches that find me
never been kissed
I am beginning to learn my weaknesses. Dealing with a woodstove taught me that I lack a healthy respect for fire, and dealing with a schedule again is teaching me that I do not have a healthy respect for time -- dates especially. I was on the phone with an irate customer last night who was further infuriated that I didn't know what the date was. He waited while I looked it up and then asked me "Now, how many days has it been since Tuesday?" I was tempted to ask him if he could please hold while I looked that up too, but instead I asked "is this some kind of quiz?" and when he assured me that it was, I counted the days out to him -- days that this guy has been without DSL service, the asshole. This is what happens when perverts have to go without porno...
That aside, I messed up my homemade calendar again this month and forgot that there was an extra day in January. Since I have a plane to catch next weekend, it was sort of good that I caught this early. If you are like me and can't deal with mnemonic rhymes for shit "Thirty days hath September and what the fuck, I can't remember..." you'll love this handy tool:
You see, you count the months out on your knuckles. Every knuckle has 31 days, every knuckle trough has 30, except for February which you can probably remember is different. You have some extra space at the end, you can ignore that.
Web begats web.
From staying in doing my MP3 noodling, I wound up getting involved in two more interesting collaborative web dealeroos. One is a kind of slashdot librarian website and the other is the lovely Metafilter. Since my two main web outlets are both already pretty specialized, these two are great niches for the weird triviata that I pick up.
I do still leave the house, however. I won't bother telling you about going to see Douglas Coupland tonight cuz I linked his weirdo website at one of the previously mentioned sites, guess which? Suffice to say that I was happy that he mentioned that he really only writes about two hours a day and is a big slacker, when he's not designing furniture. He also says that he hates research, so I think maybe he and I can be friends.
I listened to my first mp3 today. No joke. I'm not sure quite how I avoided it this long. Maybe because I didn't have the disk space, or didn't have the high speed line, who knows? Now I am all hooked up and am a wicked |-|4X0R d00d because I have Napster and am making my two mp3s available to the world at large in direct violation of many state and federal copyright laws. The interesting thing I have found so far about all the mp3 archives, is that most of them are full of major label pop music. I guess I have fewer qualms about denying royalties to the likes of Limp Bizkit than I would Pete Krebs.
So, I stayed home and hennaed my hair while I downloaded all this new junk. Putting henna in my hair is nice now that it's so short, but the whole henna process requires a lot of getting used to. Basically, unlike the henna you get henna tattooes with, the stuff for your hair is this baby shit green. The texture also does nothing to diminish this impression. So, you rub this gunk into your hair and wrap your head in tin foil for a few hours [once again, thanks to the wooly hat, I can answer the door without seeming like a paranoid freakout, until they start saying "hey, is that tin foil peeking out from under your hat...?"]. If you aren't already amused by the look of yourself in a metal hat with shit coming out of your ears [they always told me....], you will be pleased once you wash it all out [which can take days if you have dreads] and your hair looks nice and red and fuzzy. This happiness is important because you have to use it to motivate yourself to clean up your bathroom which will look like it was filled with six families of unhousetrained hedgehogs.
Death from all causes peaks in January.
I finally finished reading Cryptonomicon and it was like an amputation. I had been schlepping that book around for weeks, reading it every chance I got. Now I need a new giant book because February is coming up.
There are minor time lifestyle adjustments that I am noticing after moving from EST to PST. Basically, I wind up on a completely different sleep schedule on this coast. If the situations were reversed -- country in the west, city in the east -- I could get up early in the country, as one tends to, and then be ready for the onslaught of east coast calls by working people in the city. Then I could stay up late in the city and still call my country cousins. I could move back and forth with no major upheavals.
As it is, I stay up late -- which translates into practically morning in VT -- and then when the roofers call at 7:20 am I am damn near unconscious, which is problematic when you are discussing potentially expensive transactions. When I head back to VT on this sleep schedule I will basically be nocturnal which isn't useful in a state where everything but the truck stop is closed by 7 pm.
Additionally, I got used to being able to stay up late and make phone calls to my west coast friends. Now I think maybe I can stay up late enough to call the roofers when they wake up and then I can go to sleep. Fortunately, I am a very good napper, and I have the ideal napping couch.
I work at Left Bank Books on Monday afternoons and see it as a way of recharging my radical batteries so that I can survive another week of January. There were a bunch of people hanging out there yesterday talking about making flyers and having meetings and starting an infoshop and whatnot. It sounded kind of neat. Then I heard one of the women say "Oh, she's not an anarchist, she's a DANarchist..." [translation: she works with the Direct Action Network and thus somehow has diminshed cred with this group of radicals] and everyone nodded and grumbled about people not down with the true cause.
I felt suddenly icky. For me, one of the true joys of the WTO activities was that people from lots of different factions: tree huggers, turtle lovers, union workers, me, put aside their petty bullshit and focussed on getting shit done. While I think a lot is still getting done and people are still trying to work together, it seems to me that elevating anarchists into this year's media darlings is just one step away from selling us wallets made of duct tape, just like the ones we used to make ourselves. In other words, we may be getting a bit too precious for our own good. I left Left Bank yesterday just before the reporter from Rolling Stone showed up. No, I am not kidding.
Here's my contribution to anarchist media punditry: Seven Questions with Jessamyn West.
Wisdom for today is: If you don't know what you want, it's probably sleep. That is pretty much the state I'm in. Staying up late, corresponding, cleaning up, and slowly reading my way through Cryptonomicon and then being woken up by the Loyal Order of the Golden North, or the telephone, or the people mopping upstairs. I have no idea what amusing anecdotes I'll be passing on once I no longer have the Degree of Pocohontas to pontificate on -- roughly 6-10 weeks til the Odd Fellows Hall is relegated to my personal history. My suspicion is that it will revolve around my soon-to-be new housemate: Super Magnetic Wizardman from whom I hope to derive much wisdom -- lord knows I could use it lately.
There was a big party here last night. Much fun. Girls and guitars. Some folks I knew and many many more that I didn't. A weird light machine that made those patterns on the wall that look like there are cars driving by your window late at night. I had kind of forgotten what a nice place the hall can be when it is filled with people dancing and running around. I may try to get the Odd Fellows to give me a few free passes to be used after I leave.
I made a purple web page that I can use now when I'm at work. My new job is pretty okay by me.
Did you know that Abada disperses the knowledge like no other?
When I went to Hampshire, weird old Elliott Smith would always always always wear a knit cap. I am just now starting to understand why someone might want to do that.
Got something to say to an inanimate object? There's a forum just for you.
Go watch the moon closely tomorrow night.
In Vermont, no one comes over to your house asking you to take pictures of them with your digital camera because they are auditioning to be the bass player for Hole and need to make sure they look "rock n' roll" [and under 30] . This is Holly, I think she will be a great bass payer for Hole.
I have been dealing with money too much lately. I usually can get by with very little cash outlay, and can easily earn the money that I need. Not too much in, not too much out. Lately, the spectre of large amounts of money has been looming over me. Paying off my old caretaker, and citing bills paid and receipts, etc. Trying to get my money back from my theiving roofers, and asking them for bills paid and receipts etc. Getting cranky with the opera, who has outsourced the coat checking function of the Opera House so far that I will have to deal with some offshore trading company before I figure out who is responsible for my missing cash...
It's always a balance, my time versus my cash. Is it worth giving up on the troublesome roofers and letting them keep money of mine that is not rightfully theirs? Will it be worth it if this drags on for three more months? Is paying a lawyer ever worth it? Right now, I have dogged determination on my side "Hello, roofers? It's me, your archnemesis Jessamyn on the phone, AGAIN. Will you give me back my money yet...?" but at some point, spending two hours a day to get back a thousand bucks becomes very silly, but not yet. I'll let you know when I hit that point.
Margaret had two free tickets to the opera so we dressed up and went to see Boris Godunov on Saturday night. Real high class, fancy, neat to look at. I must admit though, that even with the close captioning for the culture impaired, I was still completely mystified as to the appeal of opera in general, and this long Russian opera in specific, though the music by Mussorgsky was really nice. I napped in parts.
The event was marred somewhat by the fact that I got all my money stolen out of my wallet at the coat check. I realize [now] that I should not have left my wallet in my coat. But I'm new to this kind of thing and I was checking my coat next to ladies checking mink coats and the like. I also have no purse. I chained my wallet securely to my jacket and didn't think much about it -- us country folk don't get that the sign that says "not responsible for valuables" basically means "it's fine with us if our employees steal from you, lord knows we don't pay them enough" I anticipate a very annoying phone conversation with the opera on Tuesday. Not like I expect them to refund my cash or anything, rather I'd appreciate some kind of apology that I don't think will be forthcoming. I rarely find myself on this side of the "If you're too stupid to know any better, god help you..." lecture, so I guess my turn is about up.
Logistics update: my laptop is fixed, I fired my old roofers, my truck still works, and I've developed an affinity for sleeping on my couch again. Don't stop sending postcards just because I'm in Seattle and I promise I won't either. 1706 NW Market, 98107.
I worked at two jobs today. They are very different.
My scanner is busted as well as my laptop, so this picure is also from Boxboro.
I was waiting to say anything until I had had my Big Meeting with the Odd Fellows and I knew a bit more about what my uncertain future was going to look like. The short form of the story is that mistakes were made by my stand-in caretaker, the Odd Fellows got pissed and scared and demanded changes, including more-or-less asking for my resignation. This suited me mostly fine because of my recent love affair with Vermont as well as my belief that 3 1/2 years is probably enough for any job, really. So, there was the Big Meeting where Things Would be Decided and, like I should have known, it was a non-event. I promised to keep the place cleaner, take the trash out every day instead of "when it needed it", said I was sorry, which I truly was, and then the meeting was pretty much over. Once I said I was leaving they seemed to be over the need to punish me too much.
So, it's kind of the end of an era, and the end of my being able to rent the hall for free. I'm sure there will be at least one more party -- most likely not Odd Stock, sorry -- and I won't be out of here for a few months yet. I'm working on a scheme or two to be able to stay in Seattle for low to no rent anyhow, at least part time, so I'm not leaving for good, yet. Besides, I just started my new job today working at the Speakeasy, so I've got some hours to put in there before I go anywhere.
Just a small note to anyone who I've helped move in the past nine years or so: I will be calling in some of that lift-heavy-boxes debt. Be very afraid, I have many encyclopediae.
Being sick is like being in love -- every time it happens, you sit there thinking "gee, I don't remember feeling like this last time..." even though, to outside observers, you probably went through many of the same motions. I'm sure there are other similarities, too.
I believe I have beaten my flu into submission with my mega-garlic onslaught. It goes like this: remove all the outside garlic paper from a head of garlic, slather it in olive oil, wrap it in tin foil, bake at 400 degrees for an hour. You can then squeeze out the roasted garlic onto crackers or an english muffin. Eat the whole damned thing. Drink a lot of water. Prepare to smell strongly for a day or two.
A nice thing about not having a lot of plans is that if you get mind-numbingly sick, you can get well without the added stress of missing work, etc. I'm not sure if jet lag caught up with me -- I am sick of waking up at 7:15, lemme tell you -- or I have developed a mild allergy to my cat, or if the smoke machine at the Catwalk was too much for me. Either way, I'm sleeping a lot, in-between getting up to make some more juice.
I'm not super sick though because if I was I wouldn't be drinking any coffee. I have been having some good fever-inspired dreams, one of which involved asking [someone?] for a refund on winter because it's been too warm this year. They've gotten no snow at all in Boston in the past 290 days or so, and temps are in the 50's. Vermont has no such problem, fortunately. Neither does Antarctica.
Some more Billediub pix are here.
Twelve things about being back. I am going out for coffee right freakin' now....
I left Vermont half a day early with severe weather chasing me down route 302. The hippies who were going to take care of my place couldn't get the cash together for a security deposit [surprise!] so I just closed the place up for a few months. This involved completely emptying the fridge [something everyone should do once a year, whose BBQ sauce is that?], turning off the water, plasticing the windows, setting the thermostat to run the place, and getting a light switch that turns the lights on if the house freezes, alerting my caretaker. This is all so I can return to my caretaking job in Seattle. The irony is not lost on me. Much props to my Mom who helped me pack & take out the trash.
So, I have an extra day in Boxboro and I spent last night at a yoga class with my Mom. Everyone should try to take a yoga class with their parents at one time or another. It really helped relieve me of some of the moving-roofers-Seattle-house-newyear-uncertainfuture stresses I've been under lately. Plus it was my first yoga class I've taken with short hair. What a difference it makes not trying to lean over with five pounds of hair compelling you in the other direction! Plus the yoga teacher was from -- of course -- Vermont, so I got to talk about the place as if I actually lived there, which is tough to do with people who actually live there who treat me like more of a tourist.
I also have a job lined up already once I get back. My house and barn may cave in and I may have to spend every last dime on propane and contractors, but I will never, ever be completely unemployed -- no matter how hard I try.
"Out here if you ask someone about their stock they'll probably tell you that one of them died"
My ISP caught on. Updates will be infrequent until I get back to Seattle sometime on Friday.
I gave Jackson a ride to Chelsea today. Chelsea is the county seat and a really nifty town with a town commons and some great old buildings. While I was waiting for my nutty neighbor to get out of court, I checked out the library. I went in and it was filled with kids. A woman there [schoolteacher?] said "the library isn't open" and I went to head out, but she said I could stick around, but the librarian wasn't there. I guess they had all let themselves in. I checked out the Vermont history section which had a collection of slim volumes that cataloged the burials in each town. Basically, someone went to all the cemetaries in each town and transcribed every headstone. Topsham has about eleven cemetaries, some big , some teeny . The entire affair was painstakingly typewritten and included maps and commentary. The last paragraph in the introduction said:
As of Fall 1979 there are approximately 2300 existing gravestones in Topsham VT. Yes, 2300 souls lay buried in the green hills of Topsham who chose to live their lives in this place which must have meant to them [sic?]. There they endure nearly 200 years of Vermont history. They witnessed War, drought, flood, illness, fire, snow, heat and all manner of accidents yet they remained and increased their numbers. This is the true Yankee character that has become the trademark of Vermont.
On my way out, I noticed there was a free box. I picked up a copy of Small Farmer's Journal, as well as copies of Anarchism and the Mexican Revolution, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution and The Black Jacobins. An odd combination. I will miss this place like crazy hell.
My ISP may be having some strange Y2K problems because I stopped paying for this dial-up account as of 12/31 and yet still it dials...!
Everyone is gone and most escaped the huge sheet of ice that fell on this entire state earlier today. Happened just as the last stragglers and I were leaving the P&H Truckstop and all-you-can-eat buffet. The rain started, the freezing began and before you could say "maple cheese sandwich" the troopers had closed off I-91. I think. It's tough to get good up to the minute news out here without a shortwave radio. Impossible to find any on the Internet, which I didn't know until today
So, it's nighttime and I'm by myself for the first time this year. I noticed that people were so focused on surviving through the new year that very few folks actually made resolutions as such. I didn't resolve anything major, but having a lot of different people around me did help me learn a few things, some pithy, some more useful.
There's some pictures here. I have to say the whole thing was even more fun than it looked.
Happy Birthday Kristen!
At 2:45 this morning my friend from Seattle called to tell me that there were a bunch of people collecting in front of Left Bank Books with some serious fireworks trying to keep the cops from looking in their bags. The other 13 people at my house and I had just gone to sleep and I had pretty much forgotten about Seattle but I was happy to hear that the Space Needle appeared to be safe. Once I woke up yesterday morning and realized New Zealand was okay, I figured my day would go well. At midnight, we turned off all the lights in the house, lit a bunch of candles and went outside. Some approximation of the Northern Lights were brightening the western sky and we lit a bunch of sparklers while we listened to the coyotes howl and drank a bunch of champagne, including some that was made with berries from my backyard.
My only new year's resolution was that if I made it through everything okay, I would finally register [or quit using] all my shareware.