Thursday, August 30, 2007


Blogger tells me this is my 150th post. That might take into account the odd private post I throw in, but that seems like a lot. I remember thinking when I started blogging at the new year that I was so far behind every other blogger that I wouldn't have much to offer. I'm still not sure about what I offer, but I apparently have a lot of it. Thanks to all who read it - I'm way more pleased about having readers than I expected to be.

My topic for today is weird words. Like sesquicentennial. It's one of the words I acually remember learning. I was visiting my grandparents and everyone in town was going on and on about the sesquicentennial like everyone should know what that was. I eventually found out it meant the 150th anniversary celebration of either their town or the state of Illinois. People were in an absolute tizzy over this word and worked it into nearly every conversation from groceries to gas to god. But it struck me that probably only three people in the whole town had ever even heard that word by year 148, but when the advertising started it got picked up like a rally cry despite being a a little long winded and awkward. I suppose it's 10 syllables less awkward than saying "one hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebration".

Often times the use of awkward words annoys me. I find it awkward when people use what I would consider an incorrect words in a place where a perfectly good word already exists. For instance, I have one friend who might soon be driven mad by the over use of "up" as a verb. It now appears to be inescapeable. [Tangent: I still want a T-shirt that says "Make 7up Yours" but is split to say "Make 7" on the front with the rest on the back.] My blood pressure rises when people mistake effect for affect or adverse for averse.

But other words, made up, misused, or whatever entertain me to no end. I'm not sure where I draw the line between "this is fun" and "you're a dope" but I'm not too worried about it. Here are some words that make me happy.

  1. "Sesqui" means "one and a half" and is usually multiplied with the numerical root. Kvarko had a roommate for a while who was quite taken with it and tried to work it into daily conversation. He would say things like "when I crashed my bike, it hurt like a sesquibitch." Which even now makes me chuckle.

  2. "Strategery" I like for the irony and ability for subtle mockery. Although the original use was definitely in the "you're a dope" category.

  3. Then there are the combination words that just seem to work better than the orignials. Ginormous - gigantic and enormous - adds a little emphasis and fun to a a description. Prezactly - precisely and exactly - does much the same.

I have to run if I want fresh veggies this week, but let me feel free to comment with your favorite "made up" word or your least favorite word that is being used where a perfectly good word already exists. I love stuff like this.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Easy Peasy

I'm worn out now, but it's an honest tired.
  1. I presented a new process qual today and it went really well. I worked hard on this and revised it a couple of times, went over it with my boss and her boss, and had my ducks in a row. It helped that it was a softball project, but it was a good one for me. It'll save more money than I make in a year. I learned how to navigate the local bureaucracy and procedures while people weren't chomping at the bit. Now I have to do it again, but in 1/3 the time. I hope I learned enough to make it go as well.
  2. I took myself off to pilates at the gym. Go me. The regular instructor was there this week and she's more intense than the sub last week. Side planks are my nemesis and I was not able to do all those exercises, but I everything else went well. I talked to the instructor afterward and she suggested some intermediate poses and targeting holding the regular plank for a minute, 3 reps. She said it might take a year to be able to. I can already hold it for 20 seconds (aka alligators) relatively easily, and 30 seconds if I push. But I don't think I look like I have great abs, because she repeated this a couple times. I do have strong abs except for those involved in the side plank.
  3. I ate outside at my chinese place and ordered "the usual" lunch. In this case it's the rice plate with spicy chicken and mixed vegetables. There are no onions and bell peppers, there are mushrooms, baby bok choi, water chestnuts, broccoli, peapods, bamboo shoots and some other stuff. It's my kind of food. And I get to eat it out in the sunshine.
Still working out how to deal with the breath issue. In the meantime, I'm reading books I've swapped for. I still need to review Harry Potter, Force of Nature, and Agnes and the Hitman. I feel like I should do that here since my blog is about me and I read a lot, but then again, isn't that what amazon is for?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

With the Brand New Flavor

Good: Had 2nd date with enormous man. He thinks I'm little.
Bad: At his bachelor pad
Good: He was ok with watching my shows at a volume I can hear.
Bad: Couch wasn't amazingly comfortable, although it was plush.
Good: He made me dinner. It was tasty.
Good: He didn't whine that I took forever getting over there because I had to go running first.
Good: He's tactile and I make him laugh.
Bad: His breath. He needs to brush his teeth and his tongue and I'm not sure how best to approach this. I really gotta say something. If I knew what to say. Right now I can only think of saying it straight up or using something like "I'm cheap and easy, but only if you brusha brusha." I think I should solicit ideas. Help!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Getting There is Half the Fun

I love to drive. I don't love to commute. I try to keep the work to home distance such that 20 minutes is a bad day on the road. In the morning, on the way to work, I will will take the exact same route every day for years and not care as I am not awake enough to care and figure that autopilot is the best option. On the way home, I like to get creative. And I take detours that lower my blood pressure even if they aren't shorter or faster, although sometimes it winds up that they are.

One of my driving quirks is that I like to have a nice stretch of familiar road where I can just pop the car out of gear and coast. I'm not sure why I get this urge to turn the car off in the middle of a drive, especially when I also enjoy vaulting up big grades, but it's there. I've been thinking about this a lot recently because I found my magic coasting road and it happens to be the lesser used access road between the my freeway exit and home. It's shaped something like a Bactrian camel eating something low and to the right.
Bactrian two humped camel

On good days, when there is no one in my way, I accelerate up the hill trying to hit 55mph before the crest. Once I reach it, I take my foot off the gas, put the car in neutral, and coast up and over the first hump. If I accelerate over the hill, there's a dip in the road that bounces the car in a way I don't like, but it doesn't do a thing if I'm coasting; I can't figure out why but I'll take it. I coast up and o o o over the second hump, which takes me down to the speed limit of 40mph because the hill is broader than it seems. When I get stuck behind inattentive drivers here it entertains me, even when we inevitably slow to 25mph, because they're using their gas to go this slow, and I'm using nothing but momentum.

I'm fine with speeding a bit at the start because the visibility is good, but after the second hump there's a blind driveway on the opposite side, then a turn lane, and the the camel neck which involves a very sharp, badly banked downhill turn so I welcome the braking action of the second hump. Even in a car that corners well you don't want to hit that right turn faster than 25mph. After this, I shift into third and hit civilization again in the form of a mall. But to get home all I need are two quick rights and a curve around to the back of the development. I haven't quite managed to coast all the way from the entrance into my parking space because I would need more initial speed than would be wise, but it's close enough for jazz.

In addition to making me smile, having this little stretch makes the place feel more like home. And reminds me of my summer in Ohio. My primary daily entertainment there, aside from swimming at the Y, was driving around after work. I think I drove most of the paved and half of the gravel roads in Licking county while getting used to driving a stick shift and listening to the Indians' games on the AM radio that I was too cheap to fix to get FM. My reward for trying all the roads was finding a gem of a drive home.

Licking county /uh-HI-uh/ is horse country. There are rolling hills with lots of lush green grass and low patches of fog which hang in the hollows. It looks like a blowsy, overdone caricature of a field from a child's dream. The lushness was startling even to me at first, like the dryness now is out here. There are some lovely looking trees there as well, and some very handsome fences to show someone's keeping the place up. While you can see some of this from the freeway, the back roads are better. (For the record, it's much the same deal if you're in Concord, Mass, but with shorter grass and more stone in the fences.)

I would take the freeway to work. But to get home, I'd drive through Granville, this pukey-cute little town restored to full Victorian gingerbread perkiness, and hook a left after the polo fields. A road little used for commuting led up a hill, to the right, and into the trees where it started heading downhill and just kept going. After a couple of weeks idling down the road, I found that I could even turn the car off and coast for a good couple of miles, just me and the grass and the fences and the trees. I was able to figure out the three places to brake so that I wouldn't run out of brake assisting hydraulic fluid for the final stop sign where I restarted my car and continued home in the normal fashion, using gas.

I think of that drive a lot these days and remember it and my friends from that summer fondly. So while it might not seem like anything special to anyone else, I consider this little camel shaped coasting road a good omen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Your Baby Got Honey Sauce

My car likes me again. I had let the poor thing get filthy and only today managed to take it to the car wash. The spiders got vacuumed out (I hope); the windows got scrubbed clean; the outside is once again shiny. Now I just need an oil change and all will be well. I think I've mentioned before that I didn't use to be a car washer. It was purely a twice a year affair. But cars don't get a little dirty here, they get can't see through the windshield filthy. Wash Me! filthy. I can't remember the color of my car filthy. So in this land of no water, washing the car is a moral imperative.

The thing about the lunchtime carwash run is that the easiest lunch is from KFC. I happen to like some KFC on occasion, but that's neither here nor there. Today with my lunch, which came with a biscuit, I got a packet of sauce. Not just any sauce, Honey Sauce. WTF? The ingredients (from memory) are:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Corn Syrup
Natural Flavor
Food Coloring

While I understand that honey is sugar, sugar is sugar, and corn syrup is sugar, they are not all the same sugar. Certainly corn syrup is cheapest in part because we subsidize the heck out of it. It is becoming apparent that in the millenia of mammals and insects sharing space on the planet, mammals have become good at digesting honey (or the microbes in our guts have, but it amounts to the same thing) but are not so good at digesting High Fructose Corn Syrup, a very recent acquaintance. I know that KFC couldn't toss in a free packet of real honey without throwing away good money. But I can't handle the concept of Honey Sauce. It's a gratuitous fake.

Before you think I've gone all righteous, I still drink a soda or two a week, which I know very well is poison. I limit the quantity, but Coke and Dr. Pepper and Squirt have me in their flavor thrall. So despite my efforts to cut out HFCS, I will allow some in the door. But I have no reason in the world to develop a taste for Honey Sauce.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just One of Those Things

Today had its good and bad points. While it was a very aggravating day overall, I realize that in the whole scheme of things, it's not really that bad. I do have some perspective. But it would be helpful if I could punch something. Pilates was fine, but not sufficiently aggressive.

GOOD: I'm working out the final details of a project at work. I recently went through the panic phase thinking that in order to save money we're going totally destroy our product, but in reviewing the data for the presentation I remember now why it was a good idea. The data is solid, the change will work, and we will save enough money every year to cover my salary if not more. If I get all the final data together.
BAD: The final bit of data was supposed to be in today, but my experiment got ruined.
GOOD: I can still get good data out of the remains of the experiment.
BAD: It's not the data I need.
GOOD: This is more characterization data rather than qualification data, so it's possible we can qualify the process change without it as long as redo the experiment soon.

GOOD: A colleague took me out to lunch today for my birthday. He pesters me like a mother hen to eat right and exercise.
BAD: After lunch I checked my mail and got unexpected bills coming to just about twice the money I got for my birthday.
GOOD: I was able get one of the bills covered by insurance.
BAD: That process took 9 phone calls, only 3 of which connected, and an hour and a half of my life to resolve. And it shouldn't have been necessary for me to interfere at all. And I still had to pay one of the other bills.
GOOD: I have about $60 left of the birthday money which I can use to buy an optic mold for making glass pumpkins.

GOOD: It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
BAD: I was frustrated and because of the bills and frustration wound up staying 2 hours late at work to get my stuff done.
GOOD: I remembered to leave in time to get to a Pilates class at the gym.
BAD: I've never done Pilates before.
GOOD: My core muscles are strong from Scott's ISO abs and Alden's BodyRev workouts, and I've done yoga for years, so I held my own and got a decent workout.
BAD: I still feel the need to run and punch something.
GOOD: I felt good enough to actually go to Trader Joes in my workout gear despite the belly pudge. And they gave me a free orange balloon.
BAD: There is no bad. The balloon isn't evil. It's even biodegradable.

GOOD: I have lots of friends to connect with over the internet and I really needed that today. I heard from both new and old friends, which was great. And a couple people were able to set me at ease about an email exchange gone awry. Thanks guys!
GOOD: I also talked to my family! My mom called early due to mistaken speed dialing, and my dad was there for me to vent at about the work screwup, and my brother for venting about the insurance debacle. Handy!
GOOD: I got a birthday card from the Up My Mind blogger! Thanks Lady!
GOOD: I finished Candace Hern's "Just One of Those Flings", the sequel to "In the Thrill of the Night" and I can recommend both.

See? It was frustrating, but not truly terrible. I do know the difference and can find some good things regardless.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Paper Moon

Every so often I have conversations with my brother and we find we have some weird thing going on at the same time, usually involving some trivial life detail. This time, it's toilet paper. I turns out we both prefer the Angel Soft brand. And we both dislike Charmin, and for the same reason. Who knew? We are unalike in almost every way, but have the same criteria for what makes a good hygiene product.

I also found out recently that I'm allergic to Cottonelle. Trust me when I say this is something you don't want to find out. Especially if you don't have access to soothing lotion. I'm just saying.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fire in the Glory Hole

I love blowing glass. Even when it's hot. Because it's hot. Watching molten glass is like seeing geologic features move on ultra fast forward, which I dig. But some days, it's really, really hot. Today was one of those extra hot days. Even though the ambient temperature was only 80F, the studio was scorching. Without the giant fan I might have melted. I now know that my otherwise very nice styling goop will sting my eyes if it melts off my hair and runs down my head. Naturally, I was making products for the chilly winter season in this blistering heat.

After sponging off and doing a complete costume change, I hopped in the car and spent 20 minutes trying to get on the 105 E. This is something that ought to only take 3 to 5 minutes, but I detoured to get gas and tried an unfamiliar approach. The entrance ramp was blocked off and a giant flashing sign announced:
Road Closed
Filming 8AM-8PM
Expect Loud Noises

Yay, I live near Hollywood now. The propensity of film studios to shut down streets here is nearly as ardent as that of various powers that be in Cambridge, Mass where they shut down streets for any excuse - r.ollerblading, concerts, marches, festivals.
So it took a bit of squirreling about to find an onramp that wasn't closed through the confused and therefore clogged up traffic. Sadly, I did not see any film crews, car crashes, or chases.

On the drive, I managed to get in a call to my grandma to say thanks for the birthday card, and "Happy 5th Anniversary". She was in good spirits and was planning to get dressed up to go out with Pop, my step-grandfather who treats her like a queen. Probably to have lobster.

The drive took me to the Brea mall to meet up with another Suz fan at a booksigning. (I have not yet been to the La Brea tar pits, but it's on the list.) It looked really far on the map, and required 4 different freeways, but traffic was fine and I got there before Candace Hern and Suzanne Enoch packed up and left. They were chatty and happy to sign and sell books. I got a nice picture of them being all smiley. And I realized that CH is selling the 3rd book of a series that I wanted to read, having been impressed by the first Merry Widow novel, so I wound up with the whole set. Where I will put them is an open question. I'm going to have to purge some of the current stock. Like at least a third of it.

After doing a little impulse shopping, my friend and I went out for what is most accurately described as the "Early Bird Special" dinner hour. And being the weekend of my birthday, she let me choose Red Lobster as the venue. Between not getting lobster in Boston this trip, seeing the TV ad, and talking to Grandma, I wanted lobster. It was good enough, and we enjoyed both dinner and talking about books and authors. We both found Force of Nature to be a very satisfying read, but were still able to discuss it. I often find that when people hate a book, the discussion can go on indefinitely. But when people like a book, they say very little, even when coaxed. So this was fun.

I incorrectly thought that the freeways might clear up during the dinner hour and spent a while going very slowly on the 5. Until I noticed an exit that one of the dates let me know about which leads into downtown LA and is actually faster than taking the freeway sometimes. It was this time, and I didn't have to be stuck behind trucks carrying barely secured mattresses, an added bonus. So I got a little rush of "hey, I know how to do this!" and headed home.

I've been picking up, repotting plants, getting ideas from my Domino magazine (which recommends a taupe paint that might work for my LR) and watching TV. I surfed around and found Pulp Fiction in time for the great line: "I'm sorry baby, I had to crash that Honda." But now Karen MacAloon's new show is on and with Lisa LaPorta, is one of my 2 favorite HGTV designers, so I have to go.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm not sure why I didn't plan to stay in Mass a little longer, as I don't have specific celebratory plans for tonight. I had that fun dinner monday, so I'm not feeling deprived. Then I am blowing glass tomorrow, might make it to a booksigning, got invited to an airshow that I can't make, and will have someone come over to watch Firefly and maybe help me move furniture. So the weekend is quite full, even though I'm missing the Honest Bob show at TT's in Cambridge.

As far as birthday presents go - I really don't need anything aside from kitchen remodel labor once my friend the architect finally has time to get me a fabulous design. And company. I could use company. I was thinking of having some scrapbooking type event mostly to motivate myself to get my souvenier stuff out of piles and into photo albums and it gets people over to my place. Or another cookie baking party. Or a viewing of Casino Royale or Bourne Identity.

That's not to say I don't like gifts, I just can't tell you what they should be. I made it into the acknowledgements of Suzanne Brockmann's Force of Nature, with my name spelled correctly this time! That's pretty cool. I got emails from my cousin and uncle, and likely have a card from Grandma in the mailbox. Mom and Dad sent a check in a card that sings "The 'Bear' Necessities" which made it even funnier that she also emailed me a link to bear scat because she found some in their suburban yard.

So. I'm having a good day. Hope you are too. I'm hoping the rest of my day involves more cake and less bear poop though!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yes 'n Hey it's Good

To be back home again. I'm still thinking of things that make a place home, but like you all, it seems to be a combination of knowing my way around and what I bring to a space. Like knowing that if 23N is backed up, I can tool up Erbes road. It might take just as long with the lights, but I won't be in stop and go traffic and the view is better, and breathtaking at points. (Just don't speed by the school at Los Flores, it's usually a sp.eed t.rap.) Then I come home and see the avocado plant I started from a seed about ten months ago which may well survive my attempts to nuture it.

I think having my own car is key to feeling at home too. I love driving (not to be confused with commuting) and I really enjoy driving my Mazda3. I was almost awake enough to revel in the drive home today. Except for the bit between LGB and LAX, I stayed off the freeway, even though the lunchtime traffic was moving pretty well meaning I could mostly pass the pokey people going 60-70 in the left lane. I got off to go pick up the glass I made (including a kind of cute sea-monster-looking thing) and never got back on. I took the coast road along the beaches then up through Malibu because the view always takes my breath away. Then I had literally NO ONE in front of me up Kanan (/KAY-nen/) until the last mile. I paralleled the freeway through Westlake and realized I now know how to get from my condo to the coast without ever getting on the 101.

I got all my stuff back inside in one trip, called my dad, took a shower, read about three sentences of FON and passed out for four hours. Did I mention that I got up before 5AM Eastern time? I got just enough sleep on the plane that I was not a danger to other drivers 12 hours later. I unpacked a few things and realized my alarm clock is stone cold dead. I'm hoping new batteries revive it because it's one of the few loud enough get my attention. I found a little note inside saying I replaced them last in 2003 and might need to do so again in Dec of 2006, so I'm hopeful.

Because I literally emptied the fresh food from the fridge before I left, I'm off to find dinner and batteries. And instead of thinking the frustrating, "who serves food and sells batteries here?" I'm actually debating between getting a salad in westlake or sushi around the corner and wondering if Rite-aid or the Do-it center sell cheaper batteries. And debating whether I should take my personalized copy of Force of Nature to dinner knowing that I will likely spill said dinner on it. So tempting, but I know it's not good for the book. And it will still be here when I get back home. Again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Here at the Home

This started as one post, but I split it in two because it outlasted even my own attention span, and I'd like some reader feedback that I'd never get if one had to wade through the whole shooting match. So here goes.

I only have one full day left. I'm going to see my acupuncturist, go for a run (did I mention I've been well fed?), attend the FON first day booksigning, and probably sneak in another game of online Snoodoku. Then I have only to make sure I pack everything I brought with and get the Firefly DVD out of the player, the shampoo out of the bathroom, etc... and it's back to the new job and the new life and the new friends. The new life exiting but still a lot harder than being here. Well, the job is less hard because the atmosphere is nicer, but I did sign up for the change, didn't I?

As much as these last two visits to Boston have been truly fantastic for me, Boston is vacation, SoCal is home. But I'm still not in the phase where it feels like home quite yet. I had the motel tricked out to my satisfaction, and rather felt at home there sometimes. So I think once I make further improvements on the condo, I'll feel more settled too. I also think I need to start re-forming my new life in the image of the old one, but with improvements. Dating more is key. Also need to do the glass art for love and money, find a chorus, promote Cued Speech, and keep exercising. And really take the time to learn my new environment so that it really feels like home to me.

I know that one can have many homes throughout life. Some places one can live in for years and never be home (MN), other places grow on you (Somerville, SoCal), and some are home instantly (MIT). As someone without kids or a sig other or that commemorative cross stitch from great grandma or a spud wrench from grandpa as an anchor, I'm choosing home with determination more than anything. I don't want to count on finding a date to make me feel at home, but I won't rule it out either. I think it's a feeling of ease in a place that is still filled with wonder.

I'd like to hear from blog readers: What is it that tells your heart that you are home? The smell of the backyard after a rain? Calling buildings by numbers? The drag queen theater outings? Tromping through wet leaves on the Minuteman Trail? The restaurant where you can order "the usual"? The neighbor you don't really like, but couldn't imagine living without because they are so colorful? I'm pretty sure it comes back to people, but I'm curious about how other people know they are home.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Feelin' Groovy

Still out in Boston. Had another fine day in a fine vacation. Good things abounded.

  1. A bunch of friends got together for feasting tonight. I'm going to count it as my birthday dinner. I'll be 35 on friday and was too much of a slow top to extend my trip through my birthday. But I'm not good with time anyway and there was all kinds of good food, beer, fruit, and pie and cake. With friends. We took a picture of three of us that had left the old job. We all looked really happy and I like this picture. I've got lots of good pictures now to remind me of this trip.

  2. The MIT glass lab director was in his personal studio when I randomly stopped by and seemed happy to see me. He gave me the name of a glass artist/teacher to look up in LA who might help me find more studio time. Frankly, I wouldn't mind teaching beginners again, should that opportunity arise. At some point during our talk, I mentioned that after moving to LA and living in a motel, I would spend weekends going for long walks on the beach during which got this weird desolate feeling of not having any plans for the rest of my life. This feeling entirely went away after I found a glass studio where I coudl rent space. That feeling, the lifting of the desolation of a vast future of not much of anything, is what finally prompted me to buy my own tools and pipes and punties because I truly needed them. It was absolute confirmation for me that I really do love glasswork. (And need to finish my glass website, yes.)

  3. I imagine some of you are sick of me saying so, but my favorite author has her new book out tomorrow, Force of Nature. In addition to being a favorite author, she is also a friend and an extremely nice person. She has spent the last few days, with the help of her husband, mom, dad, and friends autographing, personalizing, and packing to mail just about 900 books to fans who ordered up books from her so they could get a signed book and a bonus freebie booklet. Really. 900. All but about 50 contain some sort of personal note. And she wrote every last note herself and signed every book (although she may yet not be done). Check out the link for Suz in my sidebar, if you haven't already, and need a book to read.

  4. Transportation has been easy on this trip. Jet Blue got me here from Long Beach in one non-eventful flight. The T (subway/bus) got me to my friends' house after the flight. The friends lent me their car to run errands and have lunch with other friends. (I almost had to park away from lunch and take the T in - parking in Harvard Square is not for the faint of heart. $15 for 61-90 minutes in a garage! And many meters are only for an hour. Most SoCal parking is cheap like dirt in comparison.) After returning the car I took the T and commuter rail back out to my lodgings, and since then have had access to my buddy's Prius with or without him as a driver.

Once again, coming back to Boston has been very easy and enjoyable for me. And I'd like to state for the record that I'm fully appreciating that fact. I hope you all enjoyed my company too. Feel free to drop by my new digs on the left coast.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Breasts, with Gravy

Another successful Boston wedding for friends of this Cranky Otter! What has been really amazing to me, but not necessarily surprising, is how well tailored each wedding is to the particular couple. There's not one of the recent weddings I've gone to that would be mistaken for anyone else's wedding. If you're one of my friends who married recently and is reading this: (1) why did you all marry someone named "Matt"? This makes 3 in a row. (2) I finally have a glassblowing assistant so you will be getting a custom glass piece for your wedding gift sometime this year (meaning within the next 12 months. January, maybe.) and (3) Holy Cow! You guys all pulled off wonderful, personalized, touching ceremonies and lovely parties. Kudos to you all! Your hard work paid off, and I think you all made wise choices.

In this particular wedding, there was a 5 piece brass ensemble to provide music before and during the ceremony, along with the organ. Some of the music was arranged by the groom, who is primarily a 'bone player, but has other talent in the brass line as well. The bridal party dresses all sported a lovely wrap that had a Japanese influence - the bride met one of the bridesmaids, who now lives in Japan, in a Japanese language class. The cake, baked by the bride (insanity!) was also decorated with origami, and sported 4 layers, each in a different and wonderful flavor. And the take home favor was a cook book made with recipes from the wedding guests! We all wrote in a recipe or 8 (I'm just saying), to an online site that collated the results and made us a lovely book that will keep me in good food for some time to come.

There were a LOT of people at this wedding. I don't know the final count, but I'm guessing at least 300, probably more. There were friends and colleagues of the bride and groom. Friends and colleauges of the parents of the bride and groom. Parents and grandparents of friends of the bride and groom, even! I know because I sat by one of the bridesmaids' grandmother and mother at dinner. It was particularly fun for us because this bridesmaid's mom was in Lamaze classes with my mom. So I knew a lot about her before I met her in person, such as her interest in all thing Japanese. My friend kept talking about her friend and I knew my old crib mate was at her college and we finally put two and two together and came up with the same person.

At any wedding, people want to know how you're related to the happy couple. In this case, I had to think for a bit. The bride and I met when she cross registered between schools to take some classes I was in. I'm not sure if we started chatting because I like to meet new people, or because she and I have the same name and are the same size. But somehow, we not only sat next to each other in class and studied together on occasion, but we remained friends. I think it helped that after I graduated, and she went on to get a PhD in my major at my old school, that she lived about a block from me. She would hold cooking parties - baking christmas cookies in December, making chocolate truffles in February, and the like. In recent years, we had to search harder to find ways to see each other in our busy schedules, and we managed. We took to running around Fresh Pond of a thursday. Or a tuesday. It's about a 3 mile round trip from her office and we got in a lot of good job counseling therapy during those runs as well as sweated like maniacs. It's something I still miss. I did managed to continue the holiday cookie baking tradition though.

Haveing a foodie for a bride, this wedding had some fabulous food - elegant presentation, well prepared, good flavor, the whole nine yards. The centerpieces were 3 pots of varied herbs. Our table got rosemary, mint, and variegated oregano. After eating the gazpacho and salad wrapped in english cucumber, there was a break for some dancing. The bride and groom and various family members got their dances in, then the band took a break for us to be able to hear each other over dinner. I had the lamb with polenta, and the other hot item was asparagus stuffed salmon with rice. No vegetarians at our table, but I'm sure the veggies in filo basket was also great.

We managed to have a good deal of conversation at our table, which also included some friends of the bride's mother and the bride's grandmother. Ten people in all, 8 of us women. After a laugh at the consternation of the TSA in dealing with cremated ashes going through security (bride's grandma's story),tThe converstation turned to vegetation. I mentioned that while my mother is a Master Gardener and can tell an oak from a maple at 500 yards, I'm lucky to tell a tree from a shrub. But I do know a few things about some herbs. In particular, plants in the mint family have square stems (check your mint and basil for this). I leaned forward to grab a couple leaves off the full and bushy mint plant to smell and put in my water only to find that the dinner plate was bigger than the soup-n-salad plate... and I'd dunked my breasts in my lamb gravy.

My table mates were kind and got a waiter to fetch some club soda and napkins. They assured me that since it was on the underside, the damp stains would just look like shadows. I was actually coordinated enough to have brought my own wrap the bride had made for me in Taiwan, which I used for a later picture, just in case. One of the guys (married, and kidding) said something about being unable to look away from the spectacle. And I replied something like, "Of course! It's breasts and gravy, what more would I need to catch a man's attention?" And really, is there more to it? Yeah, to hold the attention you have to be smart and funny or have some amazing skill or excellent chemistry, but to get the attention? I think breasts with gravy could be my new hook, if not my new look.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My First Earthquake

As I was packing clothes last night, I was standing at my bed, laying stuff out. All of a sudden, I heard a huge bang that sounded like my upstairs neighbor hoisted then dropped his bed on the floor. The noise seemed concentrated above me. I looke up and saw the sliding doors shimmy, and I think I saw the ceiling flex out of the corner of my eye. But my three narrow and extremely unstable bookshelves in the hallway, which I plan to secure to the wall one of these days, stayed standing so I figured it wasn't an earthquake, just weirdness upstairs. I thought maybe I should check on my neighbor, but it was 1 am and he gives me a creepy "it puts on the lotion" vibe, so I re-thought that and set aside my packing and went to bed.

I just spoke to my boss who asked if I felt the 4.6 earthquake last night around 1 am. It woke her up. Her husband, my friend, said, "It's just the wind." She felt vindicated this morning when the radio announced that there had in fact been an earthquake nearby. Epicenter was near Chatsworth and Northridge, just over some mountains from me so 4.6 at a 15 mile distance can be felt. Now I know.

I'm not really worried about earthquakes. I've lived in areas that get extremely destructive tornados, Nor'easters, floods, etc... so I figure you pick a place to live and put up with whatever natural disaster favors your area. Of them all, I'm least partial to hurricanes for the record. Earthquakes are something that will either be a problem or won't, and they happen so fast you most likely won't have a chance to worry which side your lot will fall on. Most people live their whole lives in the "won't" category, even in earthquake country. My insurance company doesn't put me in a high earthquake risk category either, and it's their money to lose so I worry even less - my stuff is more likely to pull a Rhoda and be consumed by a fire. I'm fine with my electric stove since it means no gas plumbed through the complex.

But still, for a mere 4.5 which generally means "most people can barely tell there was an earthquake" there was a definite bang with movement. Certainly there have been plenty of earthquakes of this magnitude since I moved here. I have not, until last night, been even remotely aware of any of them except through a friend of mine who is obsessive enough to read a daily earthquake report and reminds me that we have them all the time. I consider lots of little quakes good because lots of little earthquakes releases stress gradually rather than storing it up for the big one. It was certainly interesting to get a little taste of one though.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Master of Understatement

Just heard Jon Stewart say something about being master of understatement when he used "pickle" to describe our current international policy instead of "exploding clusterfuck" as he then clarified. At least he has something to say. I wanted to post something light and fun after yesterday's mental vomit but I've got nothin much. I'm working on packing for Boston. I leave tomorrow and will probably finish packing at lunch tomorrow, but at least I have most everything set aside. So trip highlights will be my friends' wedding and seeing my friends and going to the Suz Brockmann opening night booksigning for FON.

Until then, I want to send this to someone who owns an "I'm not an evil minion, I'm upper management!" T-shirt:

But I had one of these.
nap attack

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I Got Rhythm (XL)

I also apparently got lots of titles that start with "I". I'll have to work on that. But for now, more about me. I've got chronic sleep troubles in that I tend not to get restful sleep unless I've had good acupuncture recently. The acupuncturists out here aren't quite hitting the spot, so to speak. After the success of my last treatment in Boston, I'm really hoping my acupuncturist doesn't miss the ferry and can see me again next week. I will also have to make a push to find a five elements practitioner out here. What do you want to bet he or she will be found either in San Fran near "my" new hairdresser, or in El Segundo? Which reminds me that if I can get in a wine tasting trip with my book club friends, I can also get my haircut refreshed.

The sleep thing, though, is critical. You don't sleep well and you start to feel like an old person - joints ache, hearing tests fine but doesn't function right, can't stay awake during the day, can't sleep at night, pain is intensified - and it's misery. Those people with fibromyalgia? I'm betting most of them don't get restful sleep. And 3 years of conventional treatment did nothing for me and mostly it doesn't work for fibromyalgics either. Fortunately for my quality of life, I found my acupuncturist, Lorli. (email me if you ever want her contact info.)

I never recall having any sort of internal clock. I was never affected by jet lag. Some people wake up and don't know where they are. I always know where I am, I don't always know when. Waking at 7:30 on a foggy summer day could easily be either AM or PM and I wouldn't (and didn't) know. I could stay awake all night, for nearly any reason. I would then sleep through my alarm until my roommate kicked my upper bunk and threatened bodily harm. In retrospect, I think my sleep troubles were masked when I was younger by the allergy medicine I took at night which made one "drowsy". I took it from the age of 12 to about the middle of college. A few years after graduation, though, and I was a mess. I honestly didn't know if I'd be able to hold down a job, applaud at a concert, use a childproof cap, or even think properly again.

I'd figured that I had a sleep problem, but my sleep test, with electrodes glued to my skull and everything, showed absolutely normal sleep patterns. Despite not having anything noticably wrong, I needed a 4 hour nap to recover from the sleep test after almost falling asleep at the wheel driving home afterward. I still couldn't wake up. One day, I got an early phone call from my friend T. We chatted for a while and I realized I was awake enough afterward to get out of bed. I also realized that I would answer the phone from a dead sleep even if I didn't hear the alarm clock. This was epiphany number one.

Epiphany number two was that I had to ask for help. I wasn't ready to go to my parents, but I asked T for help and this great friend called me EVERY DAY for a month and talked to and at me until I woke up enough to make the conscious choice to get out of bed. After a month of her calling me Long Distance for 45 minutes from a later time zone, I realized I had to call in the big guns if I wanted to keep waking up in time for work. A forcibly rearranged some blocking neurons in my head and I called my dad. My dad proceeded to call me every weekday for a YEAR. Long distance, from later time zone, to talk me out of bed in the morning. I'm sure some mornings he would have preferred the method of dripping cold water on my face - there's a reason I don't live that close. I asked for less risky help from home and another friend, a morning person, offered to rideshare with me even though it was very restricting for her. But I would not have made it without this help.

I had my third sleep related epiphany one day when I realized what it felt like to really wake up. I have always had extreme trouble waking up. I always figured that the morning people or kids or dogs pestered their night person spouse, parent, kids, or owners out of bed. Living on my own, while preferable in many ways, puts me at a disadvantage in this one. But my dad had my back, once I broke down the barrier and asked for help.

In the interim, I took ibuprofen for the joint pain and worked with a few docs on the abdominal pain until we found something, anything, to do about it. (Ask me about electrical nerve stimulation.) A week after I had surgery to fix a minor hernia that caused all manner of pain, I woke up a minute before my alarm went off, feeling refreshed. My first thought was, "this must be how people woke up before alarm clocks were invented. Can that trait be evolved out?" My second thought was, "This is strange. I don't need to hit the snooze. I'm just AWAKE." I had never in my memory ever felt awake like that after a night's sleep. Never Ever.

Great! I thought, I'm fixed! Ta-Da!

Not so fast, Kemosabe, said my body. After a month of waking up on my own, the scar tissue re-grew over my abused nerves and my sleep problems came back. Because of the alarm clock miracle, I finally deduced, with no help whatsoever from a half dozen trained sleep and mental health professionals, that my problem was getting restful sleep. Quantity was no trouble. Quality was elusive.
At this point though, I finally knew what better sleep felt like. I got a new doctor and I was able to get pharmaceuticals to help me sleep and others to help me wake up. The trick was, I had to wake up to take the drugs. Thankfully my dad kept calling me. My mom told me he got a kick out of it and I stopped feeling guilty. (I did finally have to force him to quit calling after three solid years of weekday morning rise and shine.)

I started doing a LOT better. But I needed a LOT of drugs. And more every month. I knew I couldn't move far away - I had a notion of working in Europe for a year that was totally off the table. Even a long vacation seemed risky. Drugs were buying me time, but were not a sustainable solution. I didn't much like my, or any standard doctor at this point. I'd recently read a study that found consistency of care - seeing the same therapist or same group regularly - could be more important to recovery than quality or personalization of care. So I decided that I would find a different "doctor" and when I found someone I liked, was going to stick it out for as long as I could manage.

Cambridge has an alternative health practitioner around every corner, and I tried out a lot of them to no avail. (If I tell you I don't much care for milk or peanuts, don't try to convince me to make a peanut milkshake a daily diet staple. Sheesh! I do love peanut sauce though.) My boyfriend at the time recommended I try an acupuncturist he'd met by taking her Adult Ed class on herbs. He thought we'd hit it off. I had had some luck with acupuncture previously for a different issue and was open to giving it a try. He sent me to Lorli and she said, "honey, you need my help. I can help you. Come twice a week, I won't even charge for the second visit".

And I liked Lorli. The process was not immediate, but I did start to feel better. I would go into the treatment room planning only for a nap and leave with so much energy I'd go swim a half mile at the Y. On days when I just went home and napped, no such swim happened afterward; the treatments were working. After a couple months, I dropped back to once a week visits. After a few more months I dropped to biweekly visits. After nine months, I started weaning myself from the pharmaceuticals. After 15 months or so I was up to three week intervals and no drugs. In the intervening five years or so, I got treated every 3 to 5 weeks and took no prescription drugs. And I only took OTC drugs to combat drinking too much caffeine.

In this time, I started to develop a daily rhythm. When I woke up, when I got sleepy. I can now just drop off at night where previously it could take hours to go from "sleepy" to "asleep". I now get severely jet lagged. (Lun.esta helps with short term upsets like that. Am.bien made me sleepwalk at least once.) These days, I can feel the rhythm of my day. Mornings start slow and ramp up. I get hungry at lunchtime. I have a low, slow period after lunch that morphs into about 15 minutes of being horny and them I'm totally reved up and filled with excitement and plans for work and home and glass and... I get lots of work done late afternoons.

But before I can execute on all those plans, especially the non-work ones, I crash. I've losing a lot of quality time with myself. I go from being full of vim and vigor to only wanting to sleep, NOW, and maybe get a snack. This crash was debilitatingly worse before my last trip to Boston. One, admittedly intense, acupuncture session with Lorli later, and I've had about 3 solid weeks of being perky me again. It's starting to fade though. I really hope to see Lorli in Boston. If I don't, I might have to make a special trip. It's that important. I don't want to go back on the drugs if I don't have to. I will, but I won't like it. And I don't think I'll have to if I can find a good practitioner out here.

I do need sleep - I've been reading the FON countdown in the evenings which leads to getting distracted and staying up too late puttering online. I probably should have gone to bed an hour ago. I'd only intended, really, to write these last two paragraphs after the opener. But I use this blog to unclutter my mind and all this stuff just fell out of the door to the mental storage closet when I cracked it open. So there you have it. My ongoing journey to find restful sleep and be able to wake up on my own. I do still hit the snooze most days, but I manage. I'm trying to figure out how to manage a bit better. I'll get there.

I'll end with a Public Service Announcement:
It took the efforts of a lot of friends and family to pull me together, but that only happened after I gave up the idea of being the "conquering hero" (conquering the job world? conquering what? I don't know.) and asked for help. If someone reading this out there is in a downward spiral of any sort (illness, abuse, addiction, bad moods) and is to proud or embarrassed to ask someone for help because you don't want friends, family, neighbors, or even perfect strangers to think you're a failure or an idiot or a waste of a good student loan... think again and ask for their help. Without help you may well wind up a failure. But with help you have more options.

Your friends and family want to help you. But they might not know you need help, or if they do, they know it won't be any use unless you're willing to accept it. Not everyone will want to help you, but enough people will, sometimes even the perfect strangers. It turns out people are much nicer to the folks who need them than they are to the "heroes" that made it to the top but ignored them on the way. People want to be part of your success story. If you need help, ask. If you don't get help, ask again. It gets easier. And you get a better shot at being a conquering hero, only this time it's you and your army, succeeding together.

Monday, August 6, 2007

One Cranky Otter

I work in a production facility. We process parts in the form of wafers. Every so often something goes wrong and I or another engineer has to look into it and look at the wafers and make a disposition. Some problems are "routine" and have prescribed solutions. The engineering techs can disposition these just fine. With the non-routine problems, particularly with visual defects, it helps to have one set of eyes to evaluate problems because what one person might write up as a "stain" someone else will call an "overetch" and someone else might call "corrosion". They might all be right, they might all be wrong. But if one person does the evaluation, they can at least tell if this "stain" is the same as that "corrosion" and start to build a consistent picture of the problem.

We had a lot pass through with a visual defect of the type I've been trying to get the process techs to hold for me, and me specifically, to look at. I'm not sure why people are so reluctant to hold things for me, but it was from night shift and I can think they didn't want the lot sitting for 10 hours waiting on me. So they wrote up the disposition (mask out that section of wafer as scrap) and sent the wafers on. But the description of the problem was new and unusual. I have no idea what they mean. Since I'm on a team looking into defects at this step, I need to know what they mean. So I tracked the wafers down after and got them put on hold. But they didn't get on hold until well into friday night. This was so the lot could get to a point where I could only hold my few wafers and send the unaffected wafers on without being held all weekend.

The wafers were tracked down and held by the shift supervisor. They held through the shift change at night shift. The held through the new day shift that comes in sunday. Then, inexplicably, this morning they were let off hold. This is the same shift that works sunday. I could understand if they let them go yesterday. But I checked this morning and they were on hold. I had to deal with a down tool, then I went and called up to find out where the wafers were and were told they were sent on. GAH!!!! When sent on, they go to a step where I can no longer inspect them. What part of hold for ME to evaluate means "let the shift technician evaluate them and send them on"? And it was a supervisor who released the hold! WTF!?! Did anyone call me to ask if it was ok? No. Did anyone call to say they were being let go? No. Why do I even put my name on a hold if it can just be blown off?

It's not a case, this time, of letting bad parts get to customers, but of me adding to my inventory of issues at a certain step. But what happens if they let something go that shouldn't go out? What if I miss a developing or evolving problem because my wafers are just let go to get moves? I need some special code that says "no one but this exact person or their specified representative is allowed to move these wafers beyond this point". Maybe I should just write "Hold for me and only me" next time, instead of merely specifying "hold for me."

As you can tell, I needed to rant. This is driving me crazy. It's happened way too many times now, too. And I need to not be a raving lunatic that is going to choke the daylights out of my colleagues when I go over to try and evaluate these wafers at a stage where I probably won't be able to see through the mounting film to my defect. Gah!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I Left the North, I Travelled South

Three times this weekend, four this week, I have driven from Ventura county, over East and down South to El Segundo, just south of LAX. This can take anywhere from 35 to 95 minutes, generally 45 in lighter traffic. I got stuck in the 95 minute version only once so I shouldn't complain even though I think I got a headache from it. I had checked out 2 books on tape for the NorCal trip though, and this gave me the opportunity to blow through most of the rest of "The Bean Trees".

The Bean Trees is one of my top five favorite books and this listen gave me a chance to remember why I love it even though the Lou Ann character makes me a little nuts. The way B. Kingsolver strings words together is poetic. The characterisation that finds something fabulous in the least loveable character, and the interaction with the world as a gift is something to be treasured. The scene where Taylor realizes who has been buying Edna Poppy her red hairpins gets me every time. And the ferocious thicket of bean viness that surprises people by coming up in the squash patch. It can get a little preachy, but it always makes sense in context. And it's a beautiful story of making your own life out of what you have.

But it was not just driving back and forth to no purpose other than listening to a story... On monday, I got to enjoy the sun and had lunch with my cousin J who was on her way back to Taiwan. Yesterday, I drove down in a pickup truck with no pickup to get my new sofa. I also picked up a new friend and potential date who had driven up from San Diego to help. (He's new in town and lacking for weekend activities too. We met in Sacramento.) After driving back up and unloading the couch, eating a quick lunch, and returning the truck, we headed back to his car. In the miserable stop and go 20mph afternoon traffic. Whether or not he ever speaks to me again will probably be dependent on whether or not he made it back to San Diego in time for a concert he was looking forward to.

I have a friend who kindly let me borrow the truck which turned out to be just right for hauling the sofa. I'm pretty excited about the whole sofa/ couch/ davenport/ sectional experience. It's incredibly hard to find a ready made sofa small enough for my space. I could easily build a custom one for $3K, but couldn't pay for it. I was just about to buy a not quite the right color orange sofa from IKEA that had not quite the right legs for a couple hundred dollars more than my budget, just to be done with it, when I found this little custom shop near the glass studio run by a couple of women. It took a little longer than planned due to my just right orange fabric being discontinued, but in the end it turned out to be just what I wanted. I'd been going back and forth between wanting orange or green. The final fabric I chose isn't just one color but is woven with varying bits of different colored and textured yarns although on the whole it looks light green. Here 'tis, with orange pillows.

green sectional sofa

There is still a fair amount of furniture rearranging to do but it's in the house. Condo. Living room. My first adult piece of furniture that I didn't get at a garage sale, build myself, or receive as a gift. Well, this and the bench for the patio. All that driving wore me out and I had to take a quick couch nap. Just to check it out. Yep. Comfy too. Not too squishy, not too firm.

Today I woke up earlyish yet again and tried to make an alligator. I had the luxury of working with an assistant today who could bring me bits that I could make into legs and scales and eyes. It's clearly a prototype glass alligator and looks like an baby sea lizard - lips are fishy and the eyes are big and buggy. And it was good fun. I need to coach my assistant more on bringing bits pronto but it was good. I also made another pushup vase. If it looks good, I might have a home for it. I will have to go back to El Segundo to pick them up after they get done annealing. Maybe I should look for a boyfriend in El Segundo because that's there I seem to get everything else.

Back to the people though, I was planning to meet with my cousin M - sister to cousin J and the youngest cousin from our side of the family. I'm just about 10 years older than she is, and am the oldest cousin. We'd planned to meet in Santa Monica in the afternoon, but the schedule got pushed out. This is something I rarely have a problem with. Today it wound up being a treat for me because I was able to see my elusive and overworked friend at UCLA. I drove her and her gimpy foot over to the In-n-Out for monster fries and a strawberry shake. She may not clearly remember the outing tomorrow due to the pain meds for the foot but we had a good time. I left before she fell asleep in the fries and managed to arrive at the Santa Monica pier just in time to find good street parking mere minutes before my cousin and her friends came strolling up.

My cousins and I grew up in different states so we are something of fond strangers who played together for a couple for weeks in the summer most every year. I think we've all gotten more interesting with age. She is out here visiting with college pals and I crashed their dinner plans. We took a slooowww stroll down to the pier, poked the squishy sea cucumbers at the little aquarium, got our feet wet and sandy, pushed our way through a mass of humanity, then headed back uphill and six blocks over for some Thai food. We got in a couple of pictures and remembered to touch in at least one of them. It occurs to me now that we waved goodbye instead of hugging. Heck, even sofa moving boy got a hug. I'm hopeless sometimes :)

At any rate, I had a wonderful and packed weekend despite starting out with no firm plans. I saw the very good, but visually jumpy, Bourne movie! I got together with all sorts of people - new to me and not! I blew glass with an assistant! I got my new sofa! And I drove to El Segundo. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bourne Free

I was going to post a big thing about bio-rhythms but got too lazy and didn't. I've got a lot of stuff going on this weekend. Tomorrow I get my couch, rearrange all my furniture, prep for glassblowing on sunday, blow glass on sunday, hang out with cousin M, and maybe get a little sleep. I'll probably re-read the Suz Brockmann Countdown. But all this only AFTER I see the Bourne Ultimatum.

It's FINALLY here! Bourne Identity is one of my favorite movies ever. And not because I think Matt D.amon is cute - he actually doesn't really do it for me - but because when I watch the movie, I see "Jason Bourne" not Matt. It reads as real. And that movie is a work of genius. The early buzz about this movie seems solid - of nine reviews all were 4 to 5 of 5 stars. The Boston G.lobe review was really fun to read and does my favorite thing - says WHY they like the movie without giving away major plot points and spoilers.

I also got a link to some YouTube silliness that spoofs it.

The Boston reviewer pointed out a common issue between us. He and I are both still pissed that they killed off Franke in the 2nd flick. I'd probably have liked that one more than I do if they hadn't offed Marie. Actually, I might not as it didn't have a lot of character growth, mostly just plot happenings. As an avid reader I've come to realize that what draws me into a story is character and relationship growth. I stopped reading the R. Jor.dan "Whe.el of" series when the main characters started reacting to their close friends as if they were stereotypical enemies rather than someone they'd known their whole lives. Sort of an "oh, now that you're a [insert job title], you cannot now be trusted despite our 20 year history" attitude. Pfft! Game over.

In Bourne Supremacy, we the viewers learn about some machinations behind the scenes, and we see Bourne kicking ass, but we don't really learn anything new about him. He gets back more of his memory, but it doesn't continue to change him, really. We sort of expect him to make good on his findings. And without he and Franke growing together? Just not as interesting to me. I'm not a huge fan of revenge plots. Revenge has its place, don't get me wrong! I can hold a grudge with the best of them. But revenge is about living in the past. It is something you take care of in act one or two so you can move on with your life already.

And car chases? I only like them if they make sense to the plot. I loved the car chase in BI. They were in the car already, using it as their primary transport, then he realized they were in danger of being cornered and it offered the quickest way out. In BS (heh!) the car chase read to me as "well, people loved them some car chase in the first movie, so we'll put one in here too, but we'll make it more frenetic and jumpy so they won't realize it's kinda pointless". So we'll see if I like this next installment. Regardless of plot, I plan to enjoy myself. I do love to see MD become Jason Bourne, it's truly a thing of beauty.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Good thing I like driving

I'd initially resisted the idea of heading to northern CA for the weekend because I've just been exhausted. Not "nap on the couch after work" tired, but just fatigued from not enough sleep. I went with the "I'll sleep when I'm dead" theory once again. And this time it was a great idea. Many blessings came my way recently, here are three.
  1. The trip to NorCal is detailed here in two parts. This was 947 miles round trip. It was nice because I'm starting to be more comfortable with my new friends out here.

    Part 1 : Part 2

    Perhaps because I only knew one person going into it, I met even more friendly people at the party saturday, including one guy who lives a couple hours south of here and wants to meet up and watch Firefly. I'm not sure how date-like that will turn out, but hey, he's another Joss Whedon fan that's close enough to see on weekends. I'll take it for now. It was nice to be flirted with, I must say.
  2. Please note that the Force of Nature countdown for Suz Brockmann's next release has begun! Fun!
  3. I did even MORE driving on monday, 140 miles for the day. My cousin J called from LAX with a 9 hour layover on her way back to Taiwan for another year of teaching. I was able to take a loooonnnnng lunch and go see her for the first time since we ran a Thanksgiving 6K Turkey Trot together in 2004. She has the pics on her camera because I wiped out my poor battery. We went to an excellent place in El Segundo and did a drive by of the beach. Then I worked late, which is why I didn't post yesterday. I get to drive back down to El Segundo twice this weekend, once in a slow truck to get my couch, once to blow glass and see my cousin M.