December 30, 2003
This just happened. I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble downtown right now, and have been for a few hours, doing online grad school stuff and listening to music I just happened to glance up out the window as a guy in work clothes and frizzy hair, carrying a partially empty box of coke cans and a newspaper caught my eye. My first impression was that he was a homeless person, which did not change significantly when he came in and started talking to me.
He asked me if it was one of the new powerbooks, but I told him that it was about a year old. He asked if it had a DVD player, and when I told him no, he told me that he wanted one of the ones with a DVD player. He asked me how much it would cost, and I guessed, and how much this one cost, and then he started talking about the wireless service in town.
And, then, just as quickly as that, he wished me a Merry Christmas and departed.
I turned around in shock to talk to the two women at the table behind me who were both grinning at me.
“What the hell just happened there?”
“I saw him leave, and then all of a sudden look in, and I wondered what was going on.”
“Yeah, I saw him too.”
“He was… just a bit too open with his enthusiasm.”
Apple. Everyone wants one.
I may have pointed this out before, but screw it.
They do a lot of things right. In many ways, I was an instant convert, realizing that for once my computer could just do what I want it to and look pretty.
But their advertising slogan has always bugged me.
Differently, dammit! It’s an adverb. Not enough that people think Mac users are elitist, now they think we don’t care about the rules of grammar!
December 29, 2003
The silver lining of not having a good internet connection is that I get to spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I’m sitting in Aroma right now, a place that has for years been the default destination for anyone with nowhere to go. I never understood before why my friends came here so much, even in high school, but now, sitting here with a cup of hot tea, staring out the large window at the rain and street traffic, it just feels like the right place to be.
Plus, they have about a dozen different kinds of green tea, so I’m set.
Originally written on the evening of the day I’m talking about. Saturday, I think.
This afternoon I went over to work on the house that Kyle’s Dad and two brothers (Stewart Enterprises) are building out off Highway 12. I also offered to come back and work next weekend, because, as I pointed out, I’m very broke. Bob said that of course I meant that I loved the work. I responded that, yes, I should rephrase.
I’m really broke.
When they bought the property, there was a house (basically a shack) on it. The construction is technically a remodel, because otherwise there’s all sorts of other building codes that come into play. Evidently, what was originally required was to keep at least one wall standing. But they kept removing more and more of the original building, and the building inspector kept telling them that it was enough. Then, finally, the inspector looked at the little rotten piece of junk that was left, and said: “You don’t want to leave that in it, do you?”
So, new house.
When we got there, they were working on putting some walls together, and we swung into what could have been action, except that I didn’t really know what I was doing. The way you make walls, it seems, is you mark the base and the top to show where the studs (K for kingstud, T for trimmer, C for cripple, etc.) go, then lay the whole thing out on the floor, nail it together, and lift it into place (and then, if Brent didn’t check before you started, he comes around and tells you that it has to come down because the markings were wrong ). The work moved pretty quickly, and it was cool to see how much progress we made. In that one day, we raised about half the walls in the whole house. The only part that was slightly discouraging was when, having spent 10 minutes nailing half of one wall together, Brent comes over with the nail gun and puts the rest of it together in 20 seconds. If we’d had two nail guns, we could have probably finished the whole house that day.
I’m getting a bit of a sore throat, so I tried a home remedy that one of my mom’s friends made. It’s made from garlic, horseradish, onions, and who knows what else, in a vinegar base. I filled a spoon with it, and downed it.
Oh. My. God.
It’s like a witch burning in my mouth, and everyone’s invited!
December 28, 2003
So, I was going to go have coffee with Mere; we hardly ever to see each other because our schedules seem to always conflict when we are home for break.
When I saw her at Leslie’s Christmas party the other day (she got there about three minutes before I had to leave), we agreed to meet up after I got back from Tahoe.
She gave me two phone numbers to try. I just called them tonight. The first one was an answering machine for Somebody Or Other and associates. The second was a disconnected number.
So, uh, Mere, if you did want to go get coffee, give me another call.
December 25, 2003
We went over to our friends the Boyces’ house this afternoon for
soup and snackables. I’ve been friends with Chris since forever,
basically. His older sister today called me his “original friend”, a
phrase I like the ring of.
He took me out on his motorcycle. And it was cool. I don’t know that
I’ve ever been on a motorcycle before, but I’m an instant
convert. He’s going to teach me to ride it on Sunday.
And, now, I’m caught up. Whew.
Merry Christmas to all. And to all, a good night.
Originally written in Catalán
The first night, we played a game of Cosmic Encounter after we arrived, which led to us not getting to bed until around 3:30. So when we got up at 8 o’ the clock the next morning, we were a little slow getting started. We made it to the slopes and the weather was beautiful. The sky was overcast, but we were above the fog, so the day was clear and cold.
We went to Sugar Bowl the first day, and Kyle and I skied and snowboarded for the first half of the day, while Danny and Scott hit the bar in the lodge. In the afternoon, Danny joined us, and Scott went off on his own to the beginner slopes.
Danny and Scott wanted to go to Reno that night, but Kyle and I were at best lukewarm at the prospect. Not only do I not care for casinos, we were so exhausted by the time dinner was over that we decided to just hang out at the cabin, a decision that was justified by their return at 5:30 am.
The second day, Kyle and I went to Northstar.My first ride up the chair lift was made to Oingo Boingo’s Weird Science, to which both I and the other person on the lift said: “That takes me back.” Partway up the mountain, the lift stopped for a moment as they sometimes do. A girl in the chair ahead of mine turned around, and called out.
Girl: Knock, knock.
I looked at the guy next to me for a moment, then responded.
Me: Who’s there?
I thought about that for a second.
When we got to the top of the first run, Kyle stopped to fix his makeup or something, and I started down slowly. He said to meet at Rendezvous (a lift), and I responded that I had no idea where that was, and to follow me.
He didn’t follow, and I didn’t see Rendezvous until I was 100 yards downhill of it, at which point I wasn’t going back.
So I snowboarded the first half of the day on my own, never finding Kyle. I did manage to run into the couple that I’d rode up in the Gondola with on two separate chairs, however. The second time I joked that they must be stalking me, which made them a little nervous. Perhaps it raised the possibility that I might be stalking them.
Through another quirk, we managed to both come in to lunch within 15 seconds of each other, so we skied together for the rest of the day (this time, with a contingency plan for meeting up).
Originally written while intoxicated
After the team dinner (at which Chris did not spend team money to buy us all margaritas, and I don’t want to hear any such vicious rumors), we all went to the Ohio Star Ball, which was the professional dance competition going on at the Columbus Convention Center that same weekend. As part of our entry into the Collegiate Comp, they’d given us tickets to the Saturday evening performances (a $50 value, as Chris was to find out), so we felt we should go.
After the glorious night we’d spent traveling and not sleeping, and the highly charged day at the competition, most of us just wanted to go to sleep. As soon as the dancing started, though, we paid close attention (except for Tracy, who I will assume was carried into the auditorium, as I don’t recall ever seeing her awake once she finished dinner, when she curled up in one of the booths next to our table).
Because I’ve kept myself to a rigid schedule of writing about this whenever nothing particularly shiny otherwise attracts my attention, I can honestly give you a minute by minute account of every dance we saw, down to the costume designer’s choice of rhinestone manufacturer, but if I were to do so, the experience would be so clear to you that you might never venture out to see it yourself (or something). And I could never live with that on my conscience. So I’ll restrict myself to telling about the flashiest and most adorable.
Like the kids.
They had kids here in this competition. Or, at least they were small people. My personal theory is that they must have been midgets who studied dancing for decades, but were born on February 29th, and thus are able to enter in the children’s events on a technicality. But anyway. These small people were amazing. They brought out the top finishers in three categories: the <something>6, the <something>5, and the <something>3, where <something> is a word I forget. Since the smaller numbers were obviously younger children, and the 3′s were already bordering preschool, we were wondering if the number 2′s could do much more than toddle, and postulating that the number 1′s were nothing more than women in the late stages of pregnancy.
The kids danced a Jive for us, and damned if they weren’t just fantastic at it, too. It will reassure you to know that the smallish girls tended to wear dresses that were significantly less revealing than standard latin dresses (which looks like what you are left with when you start with a nice sexy dress, but then are forced to bandage twenty people with massive head wounds). Wisps of fabric aside, these kids could dance. At some point later on they brought out some more kids, and these ones did a Paso, of which all I remember was the final move, which was, I think, supposed to symbolize the bull charging and hitting the cape. The girl fluttered to the ground (and, yes, she actually fluttered. I have no idea.) and the boy pulled his arms in two large circles back behind him, arching to over his head. When his hands got in front of him again, they pointed strongly as he charged his entire body into a quick lunge in the direction of the girl as she fell. The effect was impressive, dimmed only slightly by my continued imitation of it for the next two days.
Then we watched the professional finalists do their showcase dances. Each couple got 90 seconds to do basically whaterver they wanted to music, with style couting for a lot.
The couple that took second place did a tango to that song whose name escapes me at the moment (and I’m on way too slow a connection to listen to them and figure it out), from The Matrix, dressed as Trinity and Neo, even down to the sunglasses. The tango they danced was really cool, and matched the music well. The only problem with their showcase was that they spent an awful lot of time just walking around the floor and not dancing.
The first place couple absolutely deserved it; they were so cool, and I still can’t figure out how they did it. When the music started, they were both in black jumpsuit-looking things with the logo of a shoe-shine shop on them, and the man was sort of in the middle of shining the woman’s shoes. Then she ran and he rolled onto stage as the music (which had something to do with Shoe Shining) started. They did some free-form stuff, sort of jazzish, for a while, and then the woman started spinning. As she spun, the top of her jumpsuit unfurled to become a full red gown. Finishing her spin, she grabbed the sleeves of the man, pulled off the front of his shirt, and put it back on inside out, which turned his outfit into a tuxedo, and they immediately started dancing together. It hardly mattered what they did after that.
We watched them dance the actual events as well, and I noticed that, while each latin dance has its own character, all the standard dances besides Quickstep start to look the same with dancers as good as these. There’s so much syncopation and lifts and such that you don’t really see the basic character of each dance as much.
And then it was over, and we left for the hotel, Tracy slung over someone’s shoulder, for a well earned night’s rest.
Originally written eastbound on the 80, somewhere between Auburn and Truckee
We left at 8pm on Sunday night, by which I mean we actually left at 9:45. Me, Kyle, Kyle’s brother Danny, and Danny’s friend Scott all piled into Danny’s car and set out for the cabin.
Before we left, Kyle’s Mom, Marilyn was in the kitchen filling some bags with food for the trip. I saw three bags full of chips, cookies, cheeses, and vegetables. And then she had tupperwares full of cookies and fudge and other things. And then there was a Hickory Farms basket with summer sausage and cheese.
The conversation went something like this:
Marilyn: Do you want some of these cookies?
Marily: How about fudge?
Marilyn: Do you want–
Danny: [arms overflowing] Yes. Just, just give it here.
We left the vegetables.
When we got to Scott’s place, there was food ready to go there too, including a pie and a pizza that had to be carefully balanced in the back of the car.
Given that we’re only there for 2 days, I’d conservatively estimate that we’re bringing about 8,000 calories per person per day. And not a green thing in sight.
Except the beer bottles, of course.