[abada abada]
an occasional feature

This is the lame-duck journal entry at the end of the month where if you are not a daily reader, you might miss it when August happens. I spoke to a friend of mine last night who got a job in Antarctica [did you know that all the continents start and end with the same letter -- that is if you call North and South America both America]. Here's some fun stuff I learned about the world's least populated continent:

What is my friend doing in Antarctica? Tech support.


[too much
 coffee, man] I have heard, and it seems to be true, that there's something in novocaine that makes caffeine put the zap on you all the more strongly. I just got back from the dentist, I am not even going to attempt to go to work today.

Besides, last night was the lunar eclipse. I set my alarm for 4:30 am and walked out to the end of my alley in my PJ's to take a look at it. I'm partial to walking around outside in my pajamas, and no one else in the alley seems to mind.

In fact, there have been more drunken parties on my back stairs recently. Not my parties, just gatherings of folks and beers in bags. I always say hi and tell the folks there to pack out their trash when they leave. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't depending on whether they leave of their own accord or whether the cops shoo them off. The drunks that were there yesterday said they'd clean up their stuff and if I gave them a trash bag, they'd clean up the whole back stairs, which were looking pretty nasty. I was going through my mind trying to think of what they could use the trash bag for, and whether this was some weird scam, but I brought it out anyhow. Sure enough, they picked up all the cigarette butts, broken glass, cans and whatnot and tossed the whole thing in the garbage.


[both of us] The only reason the rioting idiots at Woodstock this weekend didn't kill each other instead of burning stuff down is because they had candles not guns. Anyone who thinks this is very different than the high school shootings is not paying very much attention.

My sister is in town and we have been having a really good time so not much to report.

The bingo party was fun as heck, though I think I may not have won a single game. Notable prizes included a shark costume, silver Doc Marten's, a pint of Ben & Jerry's, cross country skis, a shopping bag full of cassette tapes, alien autopsy board game, black light, a wheelchair, a trailer hitch, movie tickets, Planned Parenthood posters, green hair dye, glitter, red plastic tape with the word DANGER on it and a bottle of something Russian ... vodka? tiger poison? who knows?

Presents for me -- I think many people realized I would be hosting and ergo not winning last night -- included a band uniform with a big J on the front and some tasty granola. Best enjoyed together. Also, a friend showed up, albeit briefly, with a bubble machine. It's part of his Burning Man Thing he's doing. I had a vision on the bus on the way home tonight of a Y2K apocalypse where the only survivors are the Burning Man webheads, primitives, anarchists and random folk who bought handy portable generators ahead of time and the survivalists, who always had them. And me, on the sidelines, to watch the ensuing melee.


Today as I was walking to my job, some guy screamed out his car window at me and the others walking near me "Freaks! You're all freaks! You're fired, all of you, fired!" I don't know what I was being fired from but I think I'm better off for it.

I work in my office as little as I can -- about two days a week. Today I happened to notice two office signs:

  1. Your Mom Doesn't Work Here, Please Do Your Own Dishes
  2. Please Clean Up After Yourself, This Isn't Kinko's

Okay look, if my Mom did work here, she probably still wouldn't do my dishes. She'd be doing some sort of tech writing and sucking down coffee as quickly as I do. So, why not just ask people pleasantly to keep the place nice, just upholding the principles of mutual aid, and not imply that we only do our own dishes because at the moment there's no one else to do them for us? Similarly, people who work at Kinko's have enough trouble with poor image and toxic machines to need to clean up after me. I try extra hard to be tidy there.

Weirdly enough, everyone I work with is exceptionally nice and don't seem like the snooty-office-sign type. I'll have to investigate further.


[sometimes I like
 slogans...] Thanks to the stranger who sent me the bumper sticker that says "Car-People Free Your Legs and the Rest Will Follow". It's great, it's both perfectly clear and obtuse at the same time. I don't know if I can put it on my truck though, it would cover up the bumper sticker that says "Destroy Capitalism." Note, do not, under any circumstances, look up the phrase "free your legs" on any major search engine, ick!

My sister is coming in on Friday. For some reason everyone who I tell this to seems to ask "Is she older...?" as if I could only be the product of coming at least second in the birth order. Despite appearances to the contrary, I am the oldest. My sister may have a regular job, short hair, a nice house [that she lives in] and be taller and have more cats than me, but she is still 28 and I am 30.


[christ, what IS
 this...? god I love the encyclopedia...] New Plan: lie in bed reading for at least an hour before getting up [on the five out of seven days I don't have to scoot out of the house and get to work]. I have been trying to tackle a big book lately: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 [special sidenote, has anyone noticed that Amazon is now calling itself "the world's biggest selection" instead of the erroneous "biggest bookstore"?] and while it's great, I am never going to finish it if I only read it on the bus which is normally where I read anything thicker than magazines [those I read over lunch].

I also really enoyed the day last week where I did something after I woke up and before my normal coffee/email routine. And my sister's coming to visit and she sleeps in the office so I'll have to adjust anyhow. So, I just lie around reading, spend QT with the cat, learn about Peter Stuyvesant and generally start the day on less of an ASAP note than if I check in with email and coffee and learn that my boss wanted me to start on some project at 8 in the morning. And I can put off getting dressed.

I started this plan this weekend to promising results. Next weekend is not only my party and my sister's visit, but also the Ballard Seafood Fest and my favorite weirdo event: the lutefisk eating contest, where men and women compete against a pig to win money by eating lutefisk the fastest. I went to this last year and it sure was fun, albeit short.


[carrying a
 gun: If you can see the slightest part of the opening of someone else's
 gun barrel, they are not handling their gun safely] I haven't had a morning all week to just sit in my office cave and pore over email & do noodley other maintenance around the pad here. This is partially a result of my job and partially because it was sunny out. Now it's cloudy as all get out after a particularly excellent thunderstorm last night so I am not inclined to get dressed or leave the house. At all.

In fact, my email today seems particularly interesting and forms a microcosmic composite of all the email I ever get:


[any guess where this one is from?] I am out of stamps so no more postcard sending from me. In fact, anyone who wants to is welcome to send me a postcard, I love mail.

Jessamyn West
c/o Ballard Odd Fellows Hall
1706 NW Market Street
Seattle WA 98107

I found a bicycle yesterday. Or, rather, it found me. There is a 3x3 patch of dirt outside my house. It's the only thing I have approximating a lawn. It generally grows blackberries that try to grow in my kitchen window -- they know that's where all the water is. I also have a big mirror out there that was getting thrown away by the flower shop down the alley. It just sits there and reflects the blackberries and every now and again someone will walk down the steps to my place and says "Shit! I thought there was somebody down there..." because they see their own legs reflected.

Yesterday when I came home from my board meeting, I noticed that the mirror was smashed and it had gotten smashed by the ten-speed bike that was sitting on my "lawn." The bike wasn't locked and it almost looked as if it had been left there, except for the wrecked mirror. I took it inside. I figure if someone wants it back, they can come apologize to me for destroying my mirror [which doesn't look half bad all in shards, as long as no one steps in it]. Otherwise I will keep it.


[feeling prickly lately...] I have a sunburn. I went out to try to see the Aqua Follies -- some weird Seafair event with trick diving and synchronized swimming -- but they had the whole place roped off and tickets were a fortune so I sat on the lawn and ate hummus and burned instead.

This was a banner weekend for music. Saw Pete Krebs on Friday night at the Tractor Tavern. Every time I go there, the bartender [the cute bartender] gives me a free beer and says "nice to see you" & then goes off and goes about his business. I have no idea what to make of this. I used to not drink for about seven years when I was first of legal age and so I somehow missed out on the vagaries of bar culture. Anyhow, Pete K was playing his solo stuff and was really excellent.

The next night was Joel RL Phelps and his Downer Trio playing at the Breakroom [a bizarro place with a "working class" theme -- watch all the hipsters who normally drink microbrew downing bottles of Lucky, unreal] with Will Oldham's new project. The Downer Trio kicked ass. Will Oldham, on the other hand, was sporting a handlebar moustache and a truck driver hat in his ever-elusive quest for authienti-cred. I liked his stuff, but the smoke machine was really extraneous in the 100 degree heat and I guess I'm just partial to the nearly-solo guy and guitar stuff...

Saturday was also my day for my Women Who Make Things group where me and my female friends [I have one or two] get together and work on our goofy craft projects. I made postcards. Want a postcard? Send me your postal address.


Dag! I was at the bus stop with my friend Joe tonight and some guy drove by and gave me the finger. I assumed he was just mistaking me for someone else, but I couldn't lose the fact that maybe he took issue with something about me, or worse yet something about people like me [if the distinction makes any difference]. Anyhow, it stunk. I worry too much about the people around me having rampant free-floating anxiety that makes them hostile and belligerent.

[Zzzz, Mmmm] Speaking of anxiety, in my frequent trips to the dentist, I discovered that I had been grinding my teeth. No big deal, but I thought it might be indicative of some stress. Additionally, we have had the most unsunny year in recorded history here in Seattle. Oh yeah, and I've been going through a bumpy month or two. Add it all up and I've had the blues. Can't do laundry, don't leave the house enough, general malaise. Nothing serious. I started taking St. John's Wort for it. It seems to be quite the urban accessory out here where the sun never shines. I like it a lot. It makes my knees feel tingley and I just want to go run around. I always had a lot of energy, but now it seems less of a driven urge and more of a gleeful somethingorother. Basically, I feel normal but my knees feel great. Make any sense at all?


Had a day this week where I actually got out of the house before I checked my email. Usually I just kinda hunker down with my coffee and check email and make sure nothing astonishing happened in the news that I will be expected to converse about at work, and then leave the house and go about my day. The other day was different. I got dressed and headed out. Went for a walk. Talked to some folks. Saw what the sun looks like before noon. Got a little exercise. Of course, the only reason I did this was that I was out of coffee....

The 4th of July passed by without too much participation on my part. I saw the new Spike Lee movie [worth a look], hung out with friends who I could trust not to pull out firecrackers or potato salad, and ended the day listening to some kid throwing up in the parking lot behind my house while his friends alternately made fun of him and tried to help him out: "hey, roll over man."

My dance party on Saturday was a rocking good time and I have to send a big shout out to Zanga Zanga and Tiny Giants for playing great music all night long and keeping the energy level high.


[mmmmmmm, butter!] I dreamed about being kissed by seals last night and don't have much to say about that, so today's entry isn't about me so much as it is about other people:


[another odd thing] Sheesh, it's July already? I kind of wonder how one could possibly improve upon June...? June was lots of early mornings, more non-stop cloudiness [except while I was gone apparently], the divorce, the dentist, the end of my favorite job, the rat invasion, the Encyclopedia Fandango and the break-up [not to be confused with the divorce]. July promises to be nearly none of those things [except maybe another trip to the dentist] as well as possibly containing a trip or two out of town, an interesting job, a party [on Saturday] and all the Twizzlers I can eat.

Please call my e-buddy Godfrey at the Mojave Phone Booth before 7/2. He's at 760-733-9969. Tell him Jessamyn sent you.

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