On the lighter side, I ordered my new toy yesterday - the digital camera - but it won't be here until next week. *grump*. It would have been nice to have it in time for the Bedlam's Rest game - and not just because I'd want to show it off, honest!
Oh dear. I've just
been reading Mave's latest entry on erm,
about her frustrating relationship with her father. Wince. I have a
pretty good relationship with my parents (ie, they don't ask for their loans
back and have never held a grudge about The Noodle Incident) and I'm very
grateful for that. In fact, I think the worst part of it is that my pals
often like my father more than they like me! Pout. Of course, they
usually catch Christopher in his zany-English-guy persona, not the
Still, I'm glad we (generally) get along. I have friends who are alienated from their parents, and I don't know how they can manage it...
house-hunting thing hit a low yesterday. Alex and I visited a place in a nice
neighborhood in Concord. Very quiet area and - from the outside - a
decently-sized, well-kept place. Okay, so it was fifty feet away from a
humming substation. We could worry about tumors, later. I had talked to one
of the landlords earlier that day, and they said they would accept the pets
with an extra deposit, no problem.
I get back home and call the landlord to ask to schedule a viewing of the inside, whereupon I'm told "Oh, sorry, we won't rent to anyone with a dog.". The cat was fine, they said, but dogs were too much wear-and-tear. Huh? What planet do these people come from? Every other time I've been turned down from a place because of the animals, it's because of the cat - the mammal with sharp claws and a tendency to consider wall-to-wall carpeting a personal scratch pad.
So, I had a short, very acrimonious conversation with the landlord, hung up and threw the phone across the room. Fortunately, I had enough presence of mind to hurl it towards something soft - no, not Alex! - and the phone did not get smashed to bits. Ruffled feathers were further smoothed by a bag of take-out, a bottle of wine and a newly-purchased tape of Bagpuss and Ivor The Engine - yes, dear reader, I wallowed in sentimentality again. If only I could find Roobarb and Custard on NTSC video...
So, back to the newspapers and rental services today. Grrr...
Alex made a fatal
suggestion last night. For a while, I've been contemplating making my own
tarot deck, probably via collage, using images found in comic-books and
other printed media. Now we have the scanner, so it occurred to me that it
would be a lot easier if I scanned my source images and manipulated them
with Photoshop. It would be much easier to create uniform suits with
electronic images, naturally. Alex listened to me as I told him this, then
cracked an evil grin. "Mr. Men Tarot!", he chortles. I just about
choked! He couldn't believe that I hadn't thought of it, already. Imagine, Mr.
Strong as Strength or Mr.
Funny as The Fool... Mr.
Happy would have to represent the suit of Cups, but I'm not sure about
the rest... Oh dear, I guess I'll just have to buy a full set, now... ;)
Better and better! There is a (faint) chance that vivid will be willing to hire Dave as an admin! I would like that for a variety of reasons: 1) Having a roomate who works in the city might make getting to BART a lot easier in the morning (no more buses!), 2) vivid are wonderfully generous when it comes to compensation, so we won't have to worry too much about Dave not making rent. Besides, vivid is a freakishly groovy place to work, and I think all of my friends should be here, getting spoiled by the corporate culture that infests the office....
Aside from arseing
around with overblown toys, Alex and I actually did a lot of important
things, yesterday. We looked at one house in Pleasant Hill - convenient
location, but no air-conditioning, which is very bad for Alex, who
copes with the heat even more poorly than I do.
After that, we drove past a house in Martinez. It's a 2 storey Victorian with 5 bedrooms and costs a bit more that we can afford (unless I can get the incipient roommate hired at my place) but it looks so cute! However, we're waiting to hear from the owner if they're even willing to rent to a person with pets, so we might not have a chance with that one, anyways. We also drove by a place in (*sigh*) Antioch that we're viewing the inside of later today. It has the advantage of being very close to Alex's dad, and being dirt cheap ($1150 for 3 bedrooms, garage and a yard) but it's in Antioch. The absolute boonies. The commute to SF would be very hard, unless the roommate gets a job there, too.
So, no clear winners, yet, but we're feeling optimistic.
Oh dear. My bank
account is endangered once more. I've found Glamour
Girl's site. Just what I need, a reasonably priced retail outfit for
vintage clothing. I've been buying some of her more beat-up bargain-basement
bits to be used as costumes for future Cthulhu LARPs, but now that I've seen
the regular site... Oh dear... I'm very lucky that the average woman in the
first half of the century was much thinner than me, otherwise I would
be in great danger of spending way too much money...
I blame OD'ing on International Ballroom Dancing on Friday night for this latest urge for vintage clothing... Oh, you may scoff, but I get a real kick out of watching ballroom competitions - especially since huge, poofy-tulle dresses have gone way out of fashion with the ballroom crowd. Alex was inadvertently hypnotized by it, too (much like a deer in the headlights), but his only comment - upon seeing a particularly slender competitor - was "That man has never even thought about cheeseburgers, let alone eaten one..."
Niftiness! Online Shakespeare Quotation Dictionary - and it's searchable!
Time to get the husband up and go hit the flea market. Oh, don't groan, flea markets are fine venues for harmless fun - and a great way to feel superior to your fellow man...
The househunting goes well. Now that I've relented on the Antioch issue, Alex and I can really raise the bar on house-size and quality, and look at some really nice places.
"Ydris sings treble, and Ivor sings bass."
"The...steam engine...sings bass?"
"Of course he does! You wouldn't expect him to sing soprano, would you? Why, look at the size of him!"
Ivor The Engine and The Dragons
Yes, I wallowed in nostalgia again, last night, with the above video. Good thing, too, as I'm hoping it will sustain me through the five hour meeting I'm about to go into. This is what I get for being known as The Fastest Note-Taker in the West (or at least, this office). To kick the day off right, I have a migraine. I suppose it can only get better from here.
I have to go meet,
Yesterday wasn't quite as bad as anticipated, as the meeting was only three hours long. The five hour meeting is tomorrow - and similar ones are booked for all of next week, sigh. But the client brought a basket o'bribes with them (many tins of chocolatey mints) so, of course, we all stuffed ourselves on them and were feeling rather queasy for the rest of the afternoon. It's only going to get worse, as the client - who is a gourmet food distributor - is promising to bring a different treat to each meeting. We're all going to get fat because of this project!
Last night was spent at the parents' house. Obviously the time warp that hit me on Monday night extended to my family, as Susan - for the first time in years - made roast beef, yorkshire pudding and home-made gravy. I think Alex was a little startled by my enthusiasm for gravy-soaked yorkshire pud, but he adapted well, and accepted my apology for my feral snarling when he got a little too close to my plate.
for the beginner, because I wasn't intimidated until page twenty, or so. I'm
a complete scaredy cat when it comes to anything even remotely resembling
enough to count, in my mind) as I have about as much grasp of sequential
logic as a four year-old. As you might have noticed, linear thinking isn't
one of my strong suits...
There's plenty of time to fret, though. I probably won't be able to get to serious work with it until after the holidays - and the move. But I really want to get a handle on at least the basics, so I can rebuild the front page to Rough Cut (yes, again!) and - hopefully - enact a couple of nifty ideas I have for the incipient Dream Deferred site. Assuming that game ever launches, that is...
has hit a momentary lull. The past two days have not turned up any good
prospects, and all the places I called on Monday have turned out to be big
goose eggs. Ah well. It seems that Dave won't be here until the first, so we
have a couple more weeks before we completely run out of room.
An unfortunate side-effect of the timing of all this is that Alex and I are going to cancel the Cthulhu LARP, Valley of The Kings, that we were going to run at DunDraCon, because we just don't think we'll be able to put the time into it that it deserves. We could throw a game together in time, but I don't think it would be a very good game, nor would Alex and I be in the best of moods when it came time to run it. However, since the proposed Bedrest One Reunion - temporarily tagged as Plus Le Change... in my head, because every game has to have a cool name - won't take nearly the same kind of effort in terms of character craft, props and plotting, that is still on the calendar...
Tonight, Alex and
I are going to pay for some storage space in our neighborhood, and get some
boxes, so we can start packing up the den - where Dave is going to be for
however long we remain in the current place - and it'll also make room for
the Christmas party on the 18th. I've still got to call my favorite deli (a Mediterranean
place) and order a couple of platters of munchies, and pick up
Fortunately, the Christmas shopping is almost done. Alex and I are caving in and buying gift certificates for a few friends that we're having a tough time choosing gifties for, and that just leaves us with the family. Fortunately, Alex's niece and nephew are Pokemon fiends, so they'll be easy to shop for, and my parents have said they'll take a contribution towards a new table they want to buy. The tough one is going to be Alex's dad, who has a hobby of American military history, but he already owns practically every book that he wants on the subject...
My office is getting into the Christmas season, of course. There are going to be two office parties within a few days of each other, plus my boss is hosting something this weekend that I feel it would be politic to show up at. Alas, since the Great Cardiac Scare, he's given up booze, as well as the demon nicotine, so I'm wondering what would be a good thing to bring. Somehow, a potted plant doesn't strike quite the same chord as a decent bottle of plonk...
Must run, Happy Jack (a co-worker's dog) wants a scritching...
For connoisseurs of the ironic, there could be no more fitting way to
end the Christian millennium
than with The Lord's Prayer being usurped by a bunch of dancing hamsters. Cool Britannia or what?
- Ross Milne, family pal, in his latest missive from the U.K.
combined the best and worst of getting a new toy. Alex and I caved in and
picked up a DVD player - alas, the model that also plays laser discs had
been retired. So we got a multi disc thing by Panasonic, swung by Tower to
grab some DVDs - Batman, The Matrix, A Fish Called Wanda, Ghostbusters and
The Usual Suspects - and headed home. After about two hours of tinkering
with the setup (and learning that tech support closed five minutes before we
called) we decided that the supplied cables weren't up to the job. The
picture would darken and lighten on ten-second cycle, although the sound was
And the quality of the digital picture on our seven-year-old TV had me wondering how much a new telly would cost. Only seven years old, but the aliasing of the digital image proved that the electronics industry ages in dog years.
Today and tomorrow are more meeting hell days - as will be all of next week. Given the frequency with which the producers screech for my aid - although I'm not a resource for their department - you would think they would put in a hire-request for an admin of their own. Of course, I have my ulterior get-Dave-hired-at-vivid plan in mind...
I'm tapping this out on my palm pilot as I'm on the train to work and I'm noticing an increasing number of people avidly reading their bibles during their commute. I hope this is just because of the Christmas season and not borne out of any incipient Y2K hysteria. Hm, that reminds me, I've got to go and buy some candles and batteries this week..
Postscript to yesterday: Because of a scheduling crunch yesterday (whaddya mean I've got a meeting at 4PM?) Alex and I couldn't get the storage space and - thanks to the car nearly seizing yesterday and therefore reminding us that servicing it is far more urgent - we probably won't get anything until after the weekend.
"Oh look, it's Pete and Rachel
deciding that Bloodworth has been hiding for far too long..."
- My husband, at the opening of the 'lobby scene' in The Matrix
Alex and I are such
consumers... We went to the A/V place to get an adapter for the DVD
player, and we walked out with a new television.
In our defense, I'd like to mention that is was on sale and it looks fantastic. The previous telly - now destined for storage - was only seven years old, but the picture-tube showed its age once we hooked up the DVD. The new picture is amazingly crisp and bright - although it just barely squeaked into the cabinet (also due for replacement) with an inch to spare.
The Matrix on DVD rocked, I assure you. I hope the neighbors didn't mind when we cranked the volume up to eleven...Drat I wish I had the soundtrack here at work..
Watching that movie again has helped stir up the embers of Cutting The Cord . One of the problems I was having was the fact that Una - my intended main character - didn't have much to do. She kept getting shoved aside by Malachite - who is far more at ease at this point in the storyline - and I was without ideas to get around that. But, last night, Malachite popped into my head and made a few observations about Una's strengths (while I was being distracted by her weaknesses) and generally cheered me up. Yay!
Back on the
depressing end of things, I'm getting vexed about my weight. I had launched
Operation Fifteen Pounds a couple of months ago, but it was severely
derailed by Joanne's death. During my most recent clothes trip I fumed to
discover I now take a size 12 when three years ago I was a size six. I
resolved to get back on track, but now the house-hunting and holiday season
is demanding preference. Argh. And the apartment is so cluttered with stuff
that I feel too crowded to exercise. Ever conscious of my so-called dignity,
I want a nice, private spot to wheeze and curse through my weight routine
(such privacy is particularly vital in the first two weeks of the routine
when there's a lot of cursing) and at the moment, the apartment is just too
cluttered to accommodate a fat, sweaty Mead.
Sigh. For now, I'm at least going to get back on the no fried food, no red meat and no cheese regimen. Quitting cheese is going to be the hardest part, as usual. I love that stuff.
Today is four-hour meeting day, and I've got other things to do - y'know stuff for the department I'm actually attached to - to do before that kicks in and I have every intention of eating at some point today, even if it is diet food....
There might be a
bit of good news on the housing front, too. There's a three bedroom, two
bathroom house in Martinez for rent for a ridiculously low price - it's only
a mile away from the infamous Tosco refinery - and I've been massively
up-sucking to the landlady, Mushen. It seems that Mushen wants to rent to
someone who's going to be there for a while, and she really liked the
profile of Alex and I that I faxed over to her (instead of having to
repeat/rewrite the same things over and over again on rental applications,
I've finally created a master file listing all pertinent details that I can
just fax or hand to a landlord). She doesn't even mind the pets! The deposit
is a bit steep ($2400 total, the maximum allowable by law) but she's not
asking for a pet deposit...
Of course, I haven't actually seen this place yet, but I've looked it up on a map and it looks okay (and further away from the refinery than Mushen suggested) and, with luck, Alex and I will drive by to see the outside this weekend. Viewing the inside has to wait until next week, alas.
Alas, the situation is now being aggravated by the car which has been given to overheating of late. Yesterday, he had $600 worth of work done on him, and he's overheating worse today. Alex is going to be having some very strong words with the chaps at the garage this afternoon...
I have to get back to housecleaning. I want this place tidy by Wednesday, so I don't have to do the usual day-of-party panic cleaning. We've got about 14 people, all told, showing up and we're going to have to have the entire place tidy to accommodate them. Sigh. Now I regret being a slob all year long...
Alex was at Bob/Jenn's
Star Wars game last night, and I was left to my own devices. After
discovering all of the various special features of our few DVDs
(incidentally, I recommend the supplementary audio track to Ghostbusters)
I was at a bit of a loose end and - as I said - a bit feverish from
fighting off a cold in a house without heat (that's another story). So I
pulled out the camera and started getting silly.
Although I think next time I get seized by this urge for self-documentation, I'm going to neaten up my appearance a little - wear something that's actually clean (and not army surplus), put on a little makeup, cut my hair, the simple things. ;)
yesterday was a very simple day. Alex and I drove by the Martinez house -
with a little help from Jennifer
(Levi is still overheating). The house looks like it's in good shape (from
the outside), is in a good (and quiet) neighborhood and no more than fifteen
minutes away from the apartment. It might be a little too close to the
flight path for the local municipal airport (which is one of the many
reasons Alex and I want out of the current place) but we can pay more
attention to that when we see the inside - hopefully on Monday. If the
inside matches the outside, I think we'll put in an application for the
place. I don't see us finding a comparable house to this one any closer than
I really hope this one works out for us. I'm already sick of looking. More to the point, I'm sick of landlords who make promises and then don't deliver. Mushen, the landlady, seems to be on the up-and-up, I just hope it's true. At this point, I think the only thing that could keep us out (aside from our disastrous credit) is if another couple who are earning more money make an offer...
With luck, Alex
and I will be able to see the inside of the Martinez house today. I'm trying
so hard not to build my hopes up, but, well, they're building anyways. The
place is close enough to bus lines to make the commute bearable (although I
won't enjoy having to walk nearly a mile to the bus stop - here's hoping
vivid hires Dave!), and it's close enough to our current place to make the
move bearable. All I can do is cross my fingers at this point...
I'm just at the end of my commute and I'll have no time to add anything in the office... Later, all...
I'm a great fan of science, you know... - Slartibartfast.
Yesterday wasn't quite as vexing as anticipated, as I understood about forty percent of what was being said. That's not to say I didn't get bored every now and then...
|Scanned margin notes.|
The second item was courtesy of Drue and Kristen upon hearing that I went by "Jo" during junior high and high school. Har har har.
I've been feeling a little mercurial lately, which I blame on the holidays and cholesterol withdrawal. Half the time I want to spin in circles and smile at everyone and the rest of the time, I want to hide in bed and growl at all and sundry. I probably shouldn't be reading chick-books (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) during this time of year, either. There's nothing like a why-don't-I-understand-my-mother novel to render one's temper mercurial.
Glory be! We have storage boxes! Tonight, while Alex assembles the new entertainment unit in the living room, I'll be boxing up random crap in the den. The husband decided to err on the side of caution, so we have a big locker at the storage joint, phew! We might actually have room for the party!
Alas, we couldn't see the Martinez house last night, and we won't be able to see it until Thursday when the tenant returns from out of town. Fortunately, Alex and I have made Mushen's first cut - she's down to a "handful", she says - from seventy callers. I will not get my hopes up, I will not get my hopes up...
moment with Walkyr, last night. He was debating whether or not to add his
poetry to his website - he feared it would distract from his journal. In my
opinion, adding such work can only be beneficial to a reader. It's another
POV on the author, another glimpse into their mind - and if you're not
interested in sharing your frontal lobes with strangers, then you shouldn't
be publishing anything online.
There are a lot of reasons to write (although Johnson argued that it was foolish to write for any reason other than money, avaricious whatsit) but, I think, not so many reasons to self-publish online. Exhibitionism and altruism (in assorted proportions) pretty much covers it. I'm sure you can guess in what proportions they're mixed in my sprawling site...
"Grr...Argh" - four people in my living room accompanying the Mutant Enemy logo.
An alright day. Alex surprised me by cleaning up the living room, but then reminded me that we couldn't do much else, as Jen and Chris Breechen were coming over to watch Buffy and Angel with us.
I enjoyed both episodes quite a bit. I'm glad that Giles has got an 'orgasm friend' (as Anya so delicately put it) but the betting in the Mead/Baker household as to when is she going to get killed is pretty strong.
And Spike's comments on Weetabix were very funny, in a gross-out kinda way.
The Buffy episode left me with the impression that Whedon has been hanging out with Tim Burton a tad - but maybe that's me.
Angel was alright. Cordy getting the visions gives the character a reason to remain on the show, although I'd much rather Doyle didn't get killed off in the first place. The return of Wesley just made me wince - although I was glad to see the (minor) improvement to his hair.
Usual gaming-parallel-moment: when the empathy demon (Bradley?) was bullying Cordelia and telling her what a rush her fear was to him, I couldn't help thinking of Patricia. Heh.
In the hope that A Dream Deferred is going to take off, I'm working on a new addition to Trish's History and Re-evaluation. I want to examine what I learned about playing Trish during Diablo's Children (even though I will be removing that chapter from her continuity) and her new goals for a Camarilla game. Tracking this character's development over time has been a very interesting exercise. I wish I had started it earlier.
As I tap this in on my
Pilot (the only way I'm getting my journal done these days) there is a middle
aged woman sitting across the train aisle from me. No big deal, but what is
startling is her toes. She's wearing open toed shoes, and both of her big toes
are severely pushed inwards, so they each cover her second toes. Thank heavens
she's wearing hose... Those toes remind me of my paternal grandmother, who has
similarly pushed-over appendages, which she attributed to being forced to wear
too-small shoes during her rather trying childhood. I wonder what this other
woman's story is?
Gods, I have a good life.
Today, the whacky Brit from Melrose Place has got yet more meetings to sit through, and she's starting to chafe. Tune in next week to find out what was in the box she so carefully carried home last night. (Actually, it was just a badge maker, so you can stop dialing the number for the local ATF office).
I think that, come
Saturday, Alex and I are just going to squeeze all our guests into the living
room and ask them to wear blinkers so as to less notice the fact that we haven't
cleaned. Of all the times in the year for both of us to get hit with a tiring
workload We've not been working much longer than usual, just harder, so we're
both wiped out when we get home. Well, tonight I'm going to finish the living
areas if it kills me - I hear the odds are currently running at 7-2 against.
Things have not been helped by my growing suspicion that I'm coming down with something of the respitory virus variety. As mentioned before, my apartment's only source of heat at the moment is an intermittently reliable gas fire (the regular heater has packed in) and the heat at my end of the office is irregular, at best - the disadvantage to hip'n'trendy open area office space. The past few mornings, I've been waking up with a sore throat and sniffles - optimistically attributed to allergies - but this AM introduced a rather tight feeling around the lungs. Oh great, "Welcome to the party, the door prize tonight is bronchitis." Maybe I'll get lucky and it's only stress.
Bloody hell, is there no end to my whining?
Let's see. On the good news front, Dave will be arriving mod-afternoon on the 31st, which means we won't have to worry about him being kidnapped by roving gangs of hysterical mlitia men in the New Mexico desert. His original plan called for him starting on the 31st and arriving on the 1st, you see...
And I found Fritz Lang's on DVD for only ten dollars - whee! Although I was bummed to learn that Hard Boiled (kickass John Woo film, starring the equally kickass Chow Yun Fat) cost forty bucks. Fortunately, Alex and I were able to resist it...
Alex and I ventured into the mall last night (obviously) to finish our Xmas shopping and we made the mistake of going into the Warner Brothers' store. We managed to escape with only a Powerpuff beanbag (Buttercup rocks!) but I did find a perfect gift for him - for only $1400. *Sigh* Technically, he already got his Christmas present - I bought him a sword at Renn Faire - but I want to get him something for the holiday. Fortunately, the WB store alone was full of thing things he wanted so I think I can scrounge up a small giftie or two. :)
Argh. More meetings - but it's the last one for the week! Yay!
Last night was the
fancy office Xmas party, and I'm glad I went. At first I thought it would be a
no-go because 1) I was waiting to hear from Mushen about seeing the Martinez
house and 2) I would have to go home, change (whatinhell is 'swanky casual',
anyway?) and then come back into the city for the do. But when I mentioned to
everyone that I doubted I was going to make it, they all got big-eyed and whiny.
I received a rather strong feeling that going to this gig was a big
'team-spirit' kind of thing, so, by God, I had better show up to enjoy the free
food, drinks and music, dammit.
As I said, I'm glad I went, though. Alex came with me, and he had a good time. The party was at Glas Kat, which is some schwanky (new vivid word) bar/supper club/nightclub place near the office. Open bar, good buffet, not too-aggravating lighting and...karaoke? Apparently it's some kind of office tradition for the senior corporate types to sing karaoke at the Christmas party. Suffice to say, there was a rush for the bar.
Far more amusing was the guest band, compromised entirely of vividians in 80's-glam-rock wigs, doing surprisingly good covers of various Journey songs (not my kinda band, but the rest of the crowd seemed to dig it). Several of the vivid-women mobbed the stage, screaming hysterically and - maybe the two drinks I had slung back had some bearing on this - KJ convinced me to toss my bra at the stage (before you ask, I removed it in the ladies' room, not on the dance floor). *chortle* it was worth it to see the usually unflappable Mark B. (singing) turn bright red.
The freebies section of the evening was fun to watch, although I'm grumpy I didn't win. I don't know what most offices give out as Christmas raffle prizes, but my bosses gave away two round-trip tickets to anywhere Virgin flies and various bits of estate jewelry. Yecats! That beats a silly hat and noisemaker, any day! Needless to say, I didn't win anything, but everyone in office has received a fifty-dollar off coupon for a conglomeration of airlines, so that'll be useful - especially if Alex and I manage to make it to UK next year.
In the wake of all this silly fun, I'm feeling a little delicate in the head, today... Go figure. And it's COLD in my den, so I'm going to end the rambles for today and go warm up by cleaning house....
Before the party, I
met up with Lisa and Jennifer
and hit the Clinique counter at Macy's for makeovers. I need more makeup like I
need another hole in my head, but I dropped a small fortune, anyways, most of it
in colors I admittedly never would think of myself, but they all looked very
Jennifer grilled the saleswoman - Heather from Missouri - about skin care stuff and picked up some cool things, but the main focus of the entire going-on was Lisa.
Lisa's not big on makeup, but she wants to learn how to wear it, what looks good, etc. But having 2 young children in the house makes that kind of self-attention a little difficult... So we sat her down, told the makeup-lady "Keep it restrained but pretty," and let her go. Results: very restrained (phew!) but very, very pretty. Lisa has slightly olive skin, and the makeover played up to that. She looked very sultry, but not garish, walking out of the store, and her husband (when he arrived at the party) thought she was a knockout. Yay! I bought Lisa everything she wanted from the makeover, as that was my Christmas present to her, so now I'm apparently obligated to go over to her house and give lessons on how to apply lipliner. ;)
The Party: Got to a
bit of a late start - I think the grapevine had communicated what a panic Alex
and I were in - but it went very well. About a dozen people came over, and we
did our annual gift-exchange, with much avaricious squealing all 'round. There
were a couple of gaffes - Tony bought Alex and I a lovely gift, and we
didn't get him anything - but nothing disastrous. It was enough for me that
no-one opened their offering from me and Alex with a wince and a reluctant
declaration of "Um, that's great...Thanks....".
The upstairs neighbors banged on the ceiling at around 11:30PM, which I wouldn't complain about, but these are the same people who regularly get as high as kites and play bongos until the wee hours, accompanied by music that obviously wasn't intended to be accompanied by poorly-played bongos. Sigh. So, since my damn conscience is on the fritz (it keeps working every now and then) we started shuffling guests and quieting things down. The evening ended with me, Alex, Tony and Brook watching The Nightmare Before Christmas while sipping some of the very nice port that Laurel had brought over. Seeing Laurel get tipsy on plum wine, alone, was worth the effort of hosting the party.
Alex cleaned up before we went to bed, so the house is in fine shape - the party didn't make too much of a mess - and we have far too much food left over. We had ordered the usual cut-veggie and meat-and-cheese platters from the supermarket and the deli counter staff had accidentally sold half of our order to someone else, just as we arrived to pick it up. The deli staff were riddled with guilt and insisted upon giving us large platters (we had ordered mediums), which they absolutely overloaded with food. Yes, it was very generous of them, but it was also completely wasted on our party. Alex and I are hoping it will keep until Tuesday and then the Buffy-viewing gang can munch it down.
Well, the press
release is out, so I guess I can talk about it. My luvly employers, vivid
are merging with some yahoos called Modem
Media. Aw, I shouldn't call 'em 'yahoos', I know. But I've never heard of
this outfit - neither has Mr. Prickles. But, supposedly, this is fantastic news
and the bags of money will be handed out, presently. All I know is that
the engineering department just about doubled, and I'm sure we'll be moving
offices to accommodate that. Grumble. I hate office-moves.
Season's tidings to you, too. Bah humbug.
Seriously, though, this is good news, as my employers need the partnership - not to stay afloat, but to accelerate the much-needed process of becoming a Bigger Dog in the Web Kennel. Believe me, that's an apt metaphor, as the web industry moves in dog-years - one year in the web-biz is like three years anywhere else.
Well, guess who just got hit by the cold fish of administration? Back to work for me...
In the day's sucky
news, Alex and I lost the Martinez house because communications broke down over
the weekend. I didn't have Mushen's number at home, she didn't have mine,
another couple came by with cash in hand. End of story. Bah. So it's back to the
grindstone, again. Words cannot describe how peeved I am about this... I've
thrown money at another property management service to find us a place -
hopefully in record time. On the other hand, the not-sure-if-they'll-take-dogs
victorian house in Martinez is back on the market again...
And Carrell still hasn't been able to call Dave (incipient roommate Dave, not Superman Dave). With the merger and pre-holiday project crunch, she's been seriously squeezed for time. I don't want to be a pest, so I'm only bugging her twice a day about the matter...
Things looked up a
little by day's end. The new rental agency had faxed me a list with a couple of
prospects on it that we're following up. One of the places even has a pool!
Although, heaven knows I'd probably swim in it twice and decide it's too much
aggravation to keep... Still, it was nice to find some new prospects so quickly.
But I'm back at work again, and it's a Meeting Tuesday - department meeting followed by a meeting of The Stonecutters, a secret society within the department. Well, it's not a secret society, but it does take up two hours, every other week, with hardcore engineering matters that I just don't understand. If I have to ask my co-workers to explain what a web CVS is to me one more time, I think they're going to thrash me... So it's time for me to make my morning cuppa and get to work!
My annual solstice tradition of hurling rocks in the ocean has been cancelled because Alex and I have to view a house. Boo. I'm not a religous person, or even particularly spiritual, but my annual trip to the beach to hurl my cares into the waves is as close as I get, most of the time. Oh well, finding a new place to live is a little more important. I will make a point of going outside tonight, though. I just don't know when or where...
Happy, albeit entirely-unrelated-to-my-life news, Mavis is pregnant! Mave is an online journaller I've been reading for nearly a year, and she's been getting so blue about not conceiving that I was on the verge of buying her an infant for Christmas. But Mother Nature came through, yay! So what if this is a woman I'll never meet, and only occasionally correspond with via e-mail? I'm still happy!
Unfortunately, I have lots of work to do before the long Christmas weekend - I have Friday and Thursday off, lucky me! And one of these days, I have to get around to redesigning the journal for the new year... And, oh yeah, finish buying presents (just my parents and my father-in-law to go!)
if you like random weirdness and self-reflexive humor, check out Triangle and Robert. It's a hoot!
On the good news
front, Alex and I checked out a house in Concord last night. It doesn't have a
garage, but it does have a storage shed, which is all we'd use a garage for,
anyways, a huge backyard and 4 bedrooms (although they're rather small).
The house is in great condition and has 'gamer house' stamped all over it. We're
putting in an application today and the rental agent thinks she might have an
answer for us by Christmas.
Today, I'm going to be looking at another place - the one with a pool and a gardener - and I'm hoping that Alex can get off work early enough to see it with me. The place is a little more than we can afford, I think, but we wanted to take a look, anyways - since they'll take pets. However, I think Alex and I are both hoping to get the place we saw last night. The rent on it was very manageable and (glory be!) it has a decent sized kitchen. The fact that it has no fridge is only a momentary setback... Hell, we don't cook much, anyways.
Aside from that little incident, life goes quite well. Got done with the last of the Xmas shopping last night and spent most of the evening in front of the telly watching I, Cladius...
I got a lovely compliment from KT, yesterday. She's working on a novel and asked to use one of my poems as song lyrics for a 'sort of gothy' band that appears in a particular chapter. Okay, so it's not like I'm being quoted in Elizabeth George's latest, or anything, but it was a very flattering thing to be asked. Of course I said yes!
I'm off to fume and finish wrapping presents. Tonight Alex, me, Dan (Alex's dad), and a friend of Dan's (who is a lady, but not a girlfriend) are doing Christmas with my parents, and that should be very nice... I believe duck is on the menu. Yummmm....
Alex and I had a
lovely dinner with my parents last night. As usual, my mother went all-out.
Caviar and champagne was followed with roasted duck and Christmas pudding, all
lit by candles and the Christmas fire. I think Dan and Gayle (Dan's
lady-friend-not-a-girlfriend) were very impressed. Alex and I were in deep food
comas by the end of the night. Alex has discovered he likes caviar, which I'm
sure is bad news for our bank account, even although Susan was 'only' serving
Oestra sturgeon at the table...
In the giftie dept, my parents got me Syd Field's book, Screenplay, which is the book on screenwriting and a really good book on culture and fashion, which I look forward to devouring - providing Lauren doesn't see it first!
conversation, last night with 'Walkyr
Walkyr: I envy your relationship with your family, and I'm not talking travel time.
Me: well, my 'rents and I went through a fair bit of alienation, but I think we benefited by the fact that, very early on (when I was about 10 or so) my parents made it very clear to me that they had lives beyond that which was defined by their roles as my parents. It gave me a sense of perspective and - I hope - ensured I wasn't too demanding of them.
Walkyr: Yes, well, my parents went through some effort to assure I would grow up weak-willed and dependant. I never had any trouble with their roles as parents; beyond room, board, and a few baubles I never got anything positive from them. I guess one day we're going to have to reconcile, but I'm not bloody ready.
Me: Now, how do you know that they "went through some effort to assure you would grow up weak-willed"? I mean, it sounds like - by you description - that they might have been trying to encourage you towards independence. How does a lack of positiveness encourage weak-will? I agree that it's not very supportive or positive...
Walkyr: Oh, I mentioned the "little positiveness" to parallel your not being too demanding. What they tried to do was convince me that I'm basically nothing without them (my current hypothesis is that they were afraid I wouldn't take care of them in their old age). There was a definite dependence there, which I have only recently started to break out of. I guess the fact that I was a particularly gullible child didn't help, either.
Me: All children are gullible. It's part of of being a child. And, gosh, you're living on your own in the USAF at the moment. How does that make you weak-willed or dependant? Or are you saying they failed in that task?
Walkyr: No, I mean particularly gullible, as in more so than most. And I seem to be particularly dependant on the AF just now. . . . But really, they did a pretty good job until I was 18 or so. When you met me at the age of 20, did I seem particularly independant?
Me: In your opinion and state of mind? Yes. As of 20, I was still living at home, too. I was living at home until I was 23, remember?
Walkyr: The only reason I wasn't living at home at 23 is because I was in the Air Force, and the only reason that happened is because I couldn't get hired anywhere else. In my life, I've never felt "independent." "Different," yes, but never "independent."
Me: Bullshit. You told me that you *always* wanted to be a part of the military and perform your patriotic duty.
Walkyr: Yes, but by the age of 22 I'd given up on it. Or, rather, on the possiblity of it ever happening.
Me: To be able to go out and do that, to take that step away from the so-called dependence of your life until that point required a lot of courage - independent courage. Hell, *we* sure weren't encouraging you....
Walkyr: Yes, you did. Although I must also add that you both made sure I went in with my eyes open and few, if any, delusions.
Me: *nods* that I will admit. My opinion was that, if you wanted it so badly, you should be given the chance. I believed that you *did* want it so badly that you subconsciously sabotaged your chances elsewhere. I *know* you're smart enough to hold any job you want. But the job you *really* wanted was the one demanded by patriotism...So it wouldn't have been right for us to sit on you and say "NO!"
Walkyr: "Subconsciously sabotaged"? I'd never considered the possibility before, but you could be right.
Me: *shrug* Maybe... I think I am... but who really understand the mind?
Walkyr: How is it that you almost always know what to say to make me feel better?
Me: *grin* sheer luck, my friend.
Walkyr: No one. That's what makes studying Psychology so much fun.
Doesn't Christmas just
bring out the merriest thoughts? 'Walkyr's been on an anti-Christmas rant for
the past few days and, while I'm inclined to agree with the anti-commercialism,
anti-stuffing-Christianity-down-one's-throat sentiment, I think there is such a
thing as taking things too far.
It must be a part of my 'don't-rock-the-boat' nature, but my whole opinion is 'you celebrate your holidays, I'll celebrate mine'. Sure the whole "Winter Vacation" ruse in schools is just a ruse, as it still revolves around Christmas but - since it occurs with vague correspondence to Yule, the only mid-winter event that stirs anything within me - I don't see the point in getting too fussed about it. Ranting and railing against Christianity which - like it or not - is the prevailing rule around here, is only going to wear one out and make me tired. I ignore it and I kindly ask that they ignore me. It's as much religious freedom as I can hope for, around here, and I'm happy to have it.
Today, we are heading to Melissa's place (Alex's sister) to watch the kids open gifts and hang out with a lot of Lance's family. Apparently the usual anodyne to kid's Christmases - booze - will be apparent, but I'll probably skip it. Kids have an uncanny memory for dumb things grown-ups do when drunk, as I have vivid memories of my own parents' escapades... *grin*
Oh, yeah... Merry
Christmas, Glorious Yule, Happy Hanukkah, Reflective Ramadan, Joyous Erastide or
Whatever Makes You Happy to all of my readers!
Now get offline and go spend some time with your friends and family!! I'll still be here tomorrow!
I woke up with a
migrane (I blame the caviar!) and spent most of the day in bed, only emerging to
watch Hard Boiled with Alex. There's no better way to commemorate the
season than by watching Chow Yun Fat obtain the record for ammunition rounds
expended in a single scene (true until the advent of Terminator Two).
It's so Christmasy.
Later in the day, we went to Melissa's place to visit with her kids, Lance's family and their kids, a veritable horde, all told. Of course, the kids were completely over-stimulated and practically oscillating by the time we were done, but they were also very smug and happy. I have never seen so much Pokémon stuff in my life...
And then it was back home, a dose of Dickens (see above) and off to bed. Ahh, bliss. Today, we've been invited to some shindig in my parents' neighborhood - a potluck block party, I think, so I expect to see a lot of turkey sandwiches, cranberry puddings, stuffing soufflées, etc...
Visited my parents
yesterday for Boxing Day nibbles and conversation. It turns out that Susan is
rather torqued about my writing about her in a public forum. We had guests, so
it wasn't a time to get into a fight about it and - now that some time has
passed - I don't see the point of getting into a fight about it at all. I don't
say anything in this journal that I don't say to my everyday friends (and even
to her, in most cases).
I suppose if she's seriously upset, I'll stop mentioning her, but I think it's such a little thing. I can't imagine she's afraid I'm denigrating her to the hordes (read: two dozen) of regular readers that hit this site. I hardly have the nerve to kvetch about people who make me furious, why should I cast my mother in a bad light? Well, time will have this out - and if I know my family, it'll be sooner rather than later...
I'm told that every online journal keeper runs into this problem every now and then. Heaven knows I put Jennifer through it when she bitched about me, a few months ago... In the end, I quit reading her journal for a few months...
Anyway, enough of that.
With luck, Alex and I will be hearing on the Concord house today. We've belatedly realized that we haven't checked if it's got central A/C, but it's not too late to back out of the deal if it hasn't - as aggravating as backing out would be. Although we might not hear until Tuesday, bah humbug. In the meantime, we have to start clearing out the den, ready for Dave's arrival.
All food tastes better for an incantation! - me, in the office's kitchen this morning.
I'm trying to think of something deep'n'meaningful to say to mark the closing of the year (century/millenium, etc) but I'm flat out of ideas, as usual. All the deep things have been said, already, and I don't see any point in adding to the already substantial pile of stupid pithy things that have been uttered.
Oddly enough, I spent
most of yesterday in an online conversation with a fifteen year old boy in
Florida. Before the authorities kick my door in, I would like to mention that it
was just one of those random 'net conversations about everything from pets to
typing. The chap in question, Luke, is attending a tech/vocational school and an
amusing mix of teenage exuberance and geekiness - he's learning Java and Visual
Basic, and loves the sound of working in the Bay Area.
There was some culture clash of course ("Gotta run, my mom's telling me to go do my homework") but it was all very....odd. Why am I having a perfectly pleasant chat with a teenager 3,000 miles away, while I have a difficult time relating to the guy sitting at the desk next to me? Oh lord, this can't be good... Just spare me the fate of being featured TV Movie-Of-The-Week...
Regardless, he's a good kid. I just hope I'm not a bad influence on him. ;)
Ironically enough, he introduced me napster which is an application for sharing MP3s - kind of like a giant FTP. The security implications worry me - which is why I'm only using it from behind my firewall at work - but I've DL'd a dozen MP3's, regardless. I'm just counting on Norton to save my bacon if it comes to that...
Oh boy, oh boy! My Alice in Wonderland tarot showed up (gotta love e-bay). It's deeply nifty and if it wasn't for the fact that several of my journal-keeping friends already do a daily tarot card, I would do the same myself. As it is, I think this journal sucks up enough bandwidth, already. Maybe I'll just pull one on the first of each month or somesuch. ;)
I had some crazed ideas for redesigning the journal while riding the train today. I blame the rich dinner I cooked last night (chicken in mustard sauce, one of Alex's favorites) for doing funny things to my subconscious. I had some bloody strange dreams too, come to think of it... Anyways, don't be surprised if there is an occasional guest shot by an extremely strange journal once a month... I'm not saying any more, I don't want to spoil the surprise (and I'm not sure if it's going to work, ho-hum....)
Had lunch with my co-worker Victoria, yesterday. She's the executive admin assistant (as well as one of the most stylish people I know) and it seems that nervousness about job security is running rampant amongst the other admins, too. Some things are good to share, but paranoia is not one of them... It seems we're all crossing our fingers and hoping.
Encountered a filler
article in today's paper about Alzeimer's disease. Seems I've had it for
years... Forgetfulness, problem focusing thoughts, inappropriate speech
patterns... Yeah, it's all there...Great, what does old age have in store for
me? The bubonic plague?
Another article mentioned that wildfire is threatening Arcadia - which is where I spent my first year in the U.S. If it burns to the ground, it'll be final proof that pumping enough bad karma into an area will produce a physical effect - I wasn't the happiest camper while I was there... Oh alright, I admit that that was a horrid thing to say, against the millennial spirit, etc... I still mean it, though...
Once Alex gets home -
whenever that might be, as the military is trying to push through as many
recruits as possible before the end of the year - we're borrowing a truck from
our storage place and clearing out the den so that Dave actually has somewhere
to sleep once he arrives (hopefully tomorrow).
Somewhere in the middle of all this, we've got to run up to Martinez and sign a rental agreement with our new landlord - another unknown entity in my life. As long as he ain't a martian, I don't care. Fortunately, the agent has told us that we can spread our deposit ($2100! Dratted pets!) over two paychecks, as long as we pony up $500 today to 'hold' the place. This is good because we've just realized that we didn't 'last month' to our current landlords... We did give them an extra $1600 (loaned by my father) to protect against non-payment of rent (since neither I nor the roomate of the time had any credit when we moved in).
Of course, there have been three different managers since then, and we're not sure if they understand that... Ideally, we'd like to say 'take our last month's rent out of that' (sorry Dad, but we will pay you back once my options vest, I swear) and that would leave us with enough to pony up the full deposit right away - or, more to the point, leave us with plenty o'cash for moving house. However, as I say, I don't know if the current managers understand the breakdown of our deposit, and they will no doubt insist upon hanging on to it until we're moved out.
Alex intends to go to the wall on this particular issue - as he's not too keen on trying to swing rent, moving and a full deposit all in one month, but I'm not terribly optimistic. Oh, I'm sure Alex will gladly give the managers what for - I just think the landlords will dig their heels in and say 'no'. The only threat Alex really has (short of lawyers, which is pointless) is to have the complex put on the 'bad-for-military-personnel' list kept by his employers, which would only mean something if this place was a little closer to a military installation... All the guys at Concord NWS tend to live in Pittsburg and Martinez - where the rent is a lot cheaper...
Ever spaced out to the NASA channel? I do, quite frequently. For hours at a time, they'll show film of the Earth as viewed from various space shuttle missions - sometimes with commentary, but usually not. Maybe it's my space-geek heritage showing through (hi, Dad!) but it's wonderful to watch. The Earth looks indescribably pretty, with the atmosphere gently clinging to it like the niftiest digital effect ever made. It's great moving wallpaper, too. If you get the NASA channel in your area, check it out. The poor guys need all the positive support they can get.
I read the news today, oh boy... George Harrison stabbed in his home? WTF? Apparently he's going to be alright, but he and the wife have cancelled the New Year's party, go figure...
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine. - REM
Had a great moment at
lunch, too. I decided to go to the local coffeeshop, as an excuse to get out of
the apartment more than out of any love for The Coffee Cavern's cuisine. I idly
munched through a cheese sandwich, reading Little Altars Everywhere (I
preferred the followup novel, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
more) and just generally being a bump on a log. Some time later, I realized that
I had no idea what time it was - I had left my watch at home - and it didn't
matter . I had nowhere in particular to be, and I could have just sat in
the window of the coffeeshop and soaked up sunbeams for as long as I wanted.
It's been a while since that's happened to me. It was very nice. So I
deliberately stayed for a few more minutes before closing my book and heading
Remember how, during summer vacation, you could lose track of the days? Remember how we were completely unappreciative of that? Wouldn't you kill for that, again? Yeah, me too....
Alex made his speciality dish last night - lumpia. Well, we call it lumpia - which is a Filipino spring-roll - but it's about as far removed from its native roots as can be imagined. Deep fried lasagna would be a better name - ground meat, tomato sauce, various spices, sautéed down into a thick goo, placed inside an eggroll wrapper with a slice of mozzarella cheese and deep fried. If you heard an odd clanging noise last night, it was our arteries. But it's so tasty! Crunchy, chewy and meaty, yummm. (oh dear, that sounds obscene). Alex's cooking is the only time I'll eat red meat - well, that and the occasional trip to Outback steakhouse, just because they do know how to fix a steak properly... ;)
Although I bitch about
anything and everything on a daily basis, viewed through a wide-angle lens, it's
been a very good year.
Resolutions for the new year, you ask? Don't do 'em, sorry. I honestly tried, last year, and I think I had blown them all by Jan 10th. To heck with the whole scheme. I'm on an upward trend, and I'll try to continue it my own way.
If you're going to drink tonight, do yourself a favor and have a designated driver or a safe way to get home. Cab fares are much cheaper than medical bills and funerals.
Now, get off the computer and go visit with your friends! Just because I'm a geek at year-end doesn't mean you have to be!