Saturday, November 29, 2003


Two Fridays in a row now of excellent rock shows. I went to see the Gossip at the Vera Project with Josie and Eva, who sympathized on TUS after I didn't end up seeing Built to Spill last week.

The Gossip was fabulous as usual. It's one of the few bands who makes me try to put as much effort into enjoying its performance as it puts into performing. I wish I had noticed the coat room, though, as dancing with a raincoat on can be quite sweat-inducing. (Duh.) But in some ways, being too warm enhances the show--you get a vague idea of that Arkansas heat. And it makes you really appreciate the cool drizzle when you leave.

I want to write a fan letter to the band to thank them for being so awesome. I don't usually write fan letters to bands that aren't really new, but I have done worse. Like the time I saw Jason Webley in Los Gatos, Calif., and had a brief chat with him in which I revealed that was the 10th time I'd seen him and he kind of jumped backwards. (I eventually saw him 12 times, I think, before the Halloween 2002 show put a bad taste in my mouth. I was such a groupie.)

We arrived at the venue in time to see about half of King Cobra's set. I had forgotten that was the band with Rachel from the Need, which is awesome. And eardrum-assaulting. The Need was a band I saw at Yoyo-A-Gogo a few years ago with my sister and we felt very dumb for not having earplugs, but privileged to see such a rocking pair of women. This was equally as fascinating, I think.

The new Vera Project facilities seem cool, too. I guess they're not that new, actually, but it was the first time I've been there. Beth Ditto said they had a pool table. Wooo. And I approve of any venue that can draw such a nice crowd where people just want to enjoy music, not just sit around and drink and smoke or whatever, have to get out by midnight, and charge less than $10 admission. Why don't I go to more all-ages shows?

Spam Is Grand

To: < >
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003 11:09:32 -0600

That is just so awesome. It's even accompanied by a beautiful illustration and the command, "haga ¡CLICK!"

Do the click! C'mon, c'mon!

Next time I'm in southeastern Mexico I should go see Air Supply.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanks for All the Fish

Thanksgiving at my house, until a few years ago, was a family going through the motions of a holiday such as this: There was always turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, mom's 7-layer salad that no one else eats, the canned cranberry jelly that only my sister likes. Some things never change, but some things must.

For example, only one person in my family has any particular fondness for turkey, and that's my brother. I don't eat meat anymore and was never particularly into the big holiday roast in the first place. Last year--which was, admittedly, in a period of mourning and so markedly different from any other Thanksgiving I could hope to celebrate in my life--the closest thing to turkey I ate was a cold chicken satay skewer from the Whole Foods deli case while sitting on the floor of a hotel room in San Francisco. I mean, there was nothing of tradition at that meal, and yet it was wonderful. Thanksgiving should be what it is and nothing more. Placing too much emphasis on it seems to detract from the day.

Today was more of a decentralized holiday feast. We'd decided weeks ago to forego turkey entirely; my brother grudgingly agreed on the basis that grilled salmon would be served instead. I offered to make mashed potatoes, but I made them with red potatoes (skins on) and mixed them up with olive oil, fresh rosemary, and a whole bulb of roasted garlic. I also made a strange coleslaw with a sweet yogurt dressing and mixed with dried cranberries and almond slices. Unfortunately, they paled next to the host of other dishes that were offered.

My sister dutifully prepared several sushi rolls: some with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and shrimpmeat and some with just vegetables. Always a winner. She also seemed to like my suggestion of making a dessert-like roll with almond on the outside and cranberry on the inside.

My brother's girlfriend's mother brought a casserole her daughter likes, as well as potato pancakes and applesauce. Anyone who brings potato pancakes is a-ok in my book. She also taught my mother that her pronunciation of "challah" is incorrect: mom had always pronounced it phonetically and no one could tell her any different, until, you know, someone who is actually Jewish finally figured out what she was saying. I just wish an Italian person would correct her on the "espresso" thing, but perhaps that will happen when she goes to Italy in April.

The Cambodians brought a big pot of stir-fried noodles. Mom requested they used only shrimp and no chicken, etc., for my sake. Which was nice. The visiting parents of the Indonesian student who lives with mom made a couple dishes involving chicken that looked good, but I did not try. They also failed to come to dinner themselves, which was a little odd.

Mom's salmon was, of course, delicious. And the fried rice with shrimp. Her challah, too. My sister-in-law, who's pregnant with her second baby, has always loved the bread and couldn't stop eating it. I think she would've eaten nothing but bread if mom would let her.

There was so much to eat it was a wonder we could eat anything at all. Too many choices.

And then, dessert. Pre-made pies/cakes, of course. We're a lazy bunch after all that other cooking. I brought a cheesecake. Mom picked up pecan and pumpkin pies, even after saying she was sick of pumpkin pie and didn't want to get one for this dinner. I had to eat some of all of them. It was all good to me. Mmm, sugar.

My sister is looking gorgeous after all the work she's done in the last couple months of lose weight. Get healthy, is more like it. She's been walking every morning with a woman my mom's age who sounds like a great walking partner, not to mention being on the poor college student diet that sort of forces healthy eating if you're not letting yourself buy junk exclusively. Anyway, she looks very healthy and beautiful.

(It made me think I need to stop with all the sugar...heh. I have sort of lapsed into a less good diet, which is, uh, less good, for obvious reasons. My schedule has been somewhat prohibitive, although I'm not sure how. But it must be rectified.)

I spent the evening watching Dogma on cable and then trying to beat my brother at Trivial Pursuit. The biggest problem with the latter part was that the version we were using was at least as old as I am (and older than my brother), so we were more than perplexed by a lot of the questions. I like playing with my set from last year better, even though it, too, will be far behind the times soon enough. At least the entertainment questions are things I can get.

I took the Civic back and drove myself home. I received a ride from Steph and her parents (and their very sweet dog Jake) down to Olympia this morning, since they happened to be going to Tumwater for the day. Very convenient. Traffic was fine both times, amazingly enough.

All in all, another jolly good Thanksgiving holiday.

Tomorrow I work 9 to 12:30, which is kind of crappy (cropped hours) and again on Saturday, covering Chris's usual hours. I'll still be short on hours for this pay period just from holidays, but what can you do. I'm hoping to to see the Gossip at Vera tomorrow night with whomever I can convince to go.

Monday is New House Day, and I plan to celebrate by bringing laundry up after class. Ha!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Headphones Guy

There's an annoying lab user we like to call Headphones Guy. He usually comes in wearing one of those radio-headset things; thus the name. Then he asks us stupid questions about stuff that usually have nothing to do with anything remotely related to this lab's purpose or within the realm of things it's fair to ask the help desk. Rather, he asks about things like how to burn CDs of pirated materials he just downloaded on onto our lab machines, or what piece of shitty, broken hardware to buy on ebay. But he's here legitimately so we can't kick him out.

Anyway, Headphones Guy just asked me a question about headphones. Not "can I borrow a pair," either; an actual question about power ratings or something that I know nothing about.


Angry, then Not Angry But Glad

I spent much of last week being mad as hell. I was about to kill my boyfriend, if I ever saw the lug again. I'm not entirely certain why, and honestly, it's not a feeling I'd like to revisit now, as the goodwill has returned in spades.

Friday was the Death Cab for Cutie show I bought tickets for. I knew Kevin wouldn't make it, and so lined up Chris to come with me. That evening, I made some offhand remark about the smokiness of clubs and Mr. Pneumonia realized perhaps his lungs wouldn't tolerate the show well. Which, really, is understandable. And strangely, okay. The Showbox is a club I've been to many times and feel confident about getting there and back in one piece. The weather wasn't hideous. And, dammit, I wasn't going to waste another night because I couldn't find an appropriate show-going partner in time.

So I went all by my damn self. After a nice cup of coffee and dark chocolate bar elevated my spirits considerably.

And then the show was great. I grabbed a spot on the left edge of the stage, a fabulous view. Of, you know, Ben Gibbard's sweaty ass. And the whiteboy-nasty-dreadlocked (uuggghhh) bassist from Nada Surf. And the beautiful punkrock bassist from the Catch who caught my gaze a couple times and gave me a truly wonderful smile in return. That was nice. The whole band was rocking that ugly-on-purpose haircut style with short pleated skirts and vintage calf-high heeled boots. Fun stuff.

DCFC was excellent as usual. Damn, are they good. But I didn't avoid the people who knew all the words; there was one cute thing with deep brown eyes staring at Gibbard the whole time and mouthing the words to every song. Which I (meanly) thought was sort of amusing when he's singing "you are beautiful, but you don't mean a thing to me."

I had to take off before they had a chance to do an encore, though, because otherwise I would've missed the last bus home, and that would've sucked.

During this long but thoroughly entertaining show, I decided the best thing to do with respect to my anger towards Kevin would be to forgive him. And I suddenly felt so much better. What was wrong had little to do with something meriting much more than an apology and just...not continuing with the way things were, and it was making me so much more angry than I needed to be about it, so...forgiveness. And it was much better. I wanted to call him as soon as I left the show, but I knew he'd be asleep.


In Really Good But Scary news, I booked my tickets yesterday. I'm going to Southeast Asia this winter. I'll be in Tokyo (well, a Holiday Inn at the damn airport) for New Year's Eve, probably watching crazy Japanese TV and falling asleep. The next day, I'll be in Kuala Lumpur for a stay of about 8 days, hanging out with Meesh and Winnie and getting the lay of the land, before I fly to Bangkok and meet a tour that travels down the Malay Peninsula for two weeks, then fly home from Singapore.

Anyone have any tips? Requests for tchotchkes to bring home? Sweet luggage and other reusable supplies for traveling light you'll let me borrow? Leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Screaming Political Epithets

Here's where I start to have problems.

According to this, admittedly a biased source, a draft is in the works for 2005.

I told my mom. Her reaction: "" She grew up with Vietnam. Paul will turn 18 in '05. He'll be a senior in high school. He's college-bound for sure, but will that be enough?

My boss, who showed me that link in the first place, laughed. His generation slipped in just in time to miss the draft, ten years too late.

The topic was brought up because a friend of his is in the National Guard. His group got called up for duty in Iraq. He made it sound like their group was one of the last possible groups of any use, so a draft couldn't be far behind. Again, biased source, but scary nonetheless.

I started wondering about my male friends, what they'd do if their number was up. Some of them will probably be too old by then--if they start with the 20-year-olds in 2005, when most of my friends will already be solidly in their mid-20s, they will probably get out of it. But if not? Who runs? Who conscientiously objects (I think nearly all my friends object)? Who just goes?

And, of course, there are still those who joined up, to pay for college or whatever other reason, and are now in Iraq or thinking they will be soon. I know a few of those, at least peripherally. How can you tolerate being somewhere and doing something that is so blatantly based on lies and wrongs? It's impossible for me to conceptualize the cognitive dissonance that must go on at some level.


I've started seriously planning this whole Asian trip thing. I just have to decide, I guess, and give people a boatload of money.

What sounds to me like the best plan would be to hang out in Kuala Lumpur for a few days with the Meeshness and Winnie before she heads back to Buffalo, then catch up with a tour in Singapore that heads up the Malay peninsula and through some Thai beaches, ending in Bangkok. A sampler platter of Southeast Asian travel seems like the best idea for me right now, so next time--and there will be a next time, if all goes well--I have a better idea what I do and don't want to see.

My alternative is to go some other time altogether and hit up a five-day plan involving cooking classes in Chiang Mai, then spend time in KL independently of any tour. But that sounds less relaxing than I'd like for this trip.

Where is Japan in all of this? I would still like to go, but it sounds a little out of the way for this trip. So perhaps another time.

Looking at the tours, it would be super fun to do a food tour of...well, actually, anywhere, but especially Thailand, India, and Vietnam. Because yum. Maybe sometime my mom and I could do that. (C'mon, mom...India gourmet tour with a visit to the Taj Mahal? You know you want to.)

2004 is to be my year of international travel, I've decided. Besides this Asia trip, mom is planning to spend a chunk of the summer in Tuscany, so of course I have to go, too. And then I'll have to travel around to, say, Spain, maybe Greece. Maybe go visit Josie in Jordan if that's feasible. I'm trying to convince Kevin he should come to Europe for a bit, too--we could go to London and try to catch a show by some band that is finicky about playing the U.S. Or the Jerry Springer opera. Hee.

And through all of this, I feel sort of conflicted about the right to travel, what it all means, am I being irresponsible, etc. I don't really know. But that's kind of why I want to go: I want to see the world differently. You know, by actually seeing it.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Throwing Plates

It's confusing to want to kick in the teeth of someone you've technically wronged, rather than the other way around. Even if it feels like you're the one who got fucked. It's a sick mixture of anger and frustration and selfishness that makes one particularly ugly.

Check the time stamp: 9:22 on Monday, Nov. 17. I have tickets to see Built to Spill right about now, but I'm not there. Why? Let's recap.

Last night, Kevin came over less than an hour before my bedtime very depressed. He'd forgotten the paper he'd printed for me which was the reason for coming over at all. He'd earlier scoffed at me for saving the new Death Cab for Cutie CD I'd just bought to listen for the first time with him. I didn't *mean* anything by it; just we'd planned to drive to Olympia for some computer-fixing crap that night (which I was already unhappy about) and I thoyght I'd save it for that at first, but then he got up too late to do that, either... anyway. Kevin is seemingly depressed and back to his sleep-all-day schedule which is annoying to me and probably for him, too. He was don't know, not right-seeming that I told him if he didn't feel up to it, I could probably find someone else to go to the show with me.

That was foolishly charitable of me. I gave him an out. He took it, as of late this afternoon.

And so, mad as hell, I began trying to find someone else to go with.

Why couldn't I just go alone, you ask? Well, I could. But (1) I'd have to take the bus (2) to a neighborhood that kind of isn't so great in the first place and (3) a club I've never been to. (4) The bus routes drop off about half a mile from the club and (5) may or may not run reliably into the night, meaning (6) I probably wouldn't get home until late late late (7) chilly and wet from the nasty weather and still pissed about being alone. Yeah, it's excuse-ridden, but I think I'm allowed these excuses. They are still better than my excuse for not seeing REM/Wilco at Bumbershoot when one girl gave me a wristband but we couldn't get one for Kevin.

So anyway, I told Aron to get to Seattle by 9. Jokingly, of course; the guy's in Phoenix and not exactly in a position to charter a flight or whatever. I posted to TUS with my petty bitch about the situation. Of course none of my housemates could or wanted to go. I emailed Jesse, which I'm sure he didn't get in time and is probably busy anyway. Or doesn't like the band. I have no idea. I IM'ed my old friend Rachel, who's down at OSU in Corvallis, Ore., telling her she should drive up to Seattle and see Built to Spill with me tonight.

Forty-five minutes later, I got an "ok."

Incredulous, a bizarre conversation ensued in which she told me she was going to come up that night, what the hell! She wants to see me. She tells me to go to the show, leave a ticket at will-call for her, and she'll meet me there. I'm like, well, um, how about you call me around 9 and say where you are, and I'll decide if it's feasible for you to get here in time. She said okay and took off.

Amused by the whole thing, I decided to go to Trader Joe's with Stephanie and get junk food. She's all about the frozen key lime pie and black soft licorice. I got no-pudge brownie mix and cappuccino meringues, thinking these fat-free items may be Rachel-diet-approved. And I wanted sugar.

I heard from Rachel as the brownies came out of the oven around 9 p.m. She was in Vancouver. We decided that she wouldn't make it in until after midnight, and that was ridiculous. But she is thinking of coming up tomorrow instead, which would be cool.

The Rachel thing had temporarily alleviated my anger, but I had to call Kevin and tell him what was going on, just to make it come back.

He told me I'd promised not to nag.

Ohhhh, fuck.

Well, I'm still angry. I'm out $40 for tickets and fees--at least some of the money supposedly goes to help Dub Narcotic's medical bills after their bus accident last month. At least it's not a total loss, I guess. And I've missed being around my otherwise pleasant boyfriend, who seems to be having a hard time. I just have a hard time being nice, apparently. Sometimes I just want things to go my way so bad that I revert to being a bratty 2-year-old.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Focus Your Ears

I'm not sure if it's an actual physical problem or simply the phone/social phobia that causes this, but when I'm on the phone with someone, I can't hear well. This isn't as much of a problem with people like my mom, my boyfriend, etc., and I'm not sure if maybe it's because I can picture them saying things and know their voice much better than most people I talk to on the phone or something else.

Anyway, my brain sort of freezes up when I'm on the phone with people whom I need to deal with on a business level (interviewing, jobs, rentals) and I can't really process everything that's said to me. Like I can tell that something is being said, and I think maybe I get the gist of what's being said, but I don't really understand it. Some kind of selective auditory dyslexia?

Additionally, I forget what I wanted to ask or discuss. I just got a call from my soon-to-be landlord telling us the credit checks came through and we're set to move in (yay!). Then he was saying something about the other paperwork (the lease) and picking it up and did I have any questions about it. Well, yes, I do, specifically: Aren't you supposed to be present when we sign it? Because what he was saying didn't give me that impression, although it goes against every other lease I've signed. And don't we sign it just prior to moving in and pay all fees at that time as well? I mean, sure, it's a difference of about two weeks now, but still. That's over $1000 each. But the only question that came to mind was: "Um, yeah, about the pets section, Stephanie has a little frog in a terrarium and the lease is pretty complete about excluding everything and wanted to know if we could do something about that." To which he responded in the affirmative, I think. Something about writing a note in there about a frog in a terrarium is okay.

I vastly prefer e-mail for obvious reasons, not the least of which is I can clearly understand what the other person is fricking saying.

It's weird, though, because it feels like the auditory version of losing focus. When your eyes can't quite get anything in the fovea, nothing makes's all a blur. It's disorienting. I get the same thing with my hearing sometimes. I don't know what it means that I think of auditory distortions in terms of visual perception metaphors.

But yay, we have the house!

Friday, November 14, 2003

No, I Would Not Like Some Free Stuff

Two promo goons from The End accosted me this morning. I was trying to explain to the girl at Bulldog that I wanted to fill my travel mug with some of her coffee, and here is the money to prove it.

I could spot them before I even approached the store. I passed them on the sidewalk. The guy was wearing a black hoodie with the station logo on the back; the girl had a '28 Days Later' backpack. I stop, and suddenly they're on me like flies to shit. Flies with no apparent self-respect.

"Here you go!" they said cheerfully to my un-caffienated, non-showered self at 7 in the goddamn morning. (Who the fuck does promo goonership at 7 a.m.?!)

"Uh, no thanks."

"You don't want any free stuff? C'mon we're from The End; we're not weirdoes or anything."

I take issue with the last statement, but keep it to myself. "No, thanks."

"Not even a free CD?"

Yeah. Cos I love those promo sampler CDs with half a dozen snippets of songs by I'd never listen to, and not because I've never heard of them, but because they suck. From the radio station I figured out by the time I was 16 played only the most banal and popular modern rock songs. I mean, guys, I love rock, I love indie, and homogeneous, corporate giant rock stations don't exactly whet my whistle even when they do occasionally play something non-shitty. Millions of people can't be wrong all the time.

So here are these two alterna-fashionista promo goons for one of the most frustrating stations in town, covered in advertising and trying to give me free trash, making babble behind me about how they're not weird, geez, aww. Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's some psychological game promo goons play to make people take their stupid crap, and I'm not buying it.

Anyway, this coffee is some of the nappiest-tasting coffee I've enjoyed recently, which is an absolute first for Bulldog. It's also the first cup of coffee I've had in nearly a week.

Tonight we're hosting a slumber party. Girls only! Makeovers, pizza, chick flicks, and gossip are the apparent order of the day. I object to half the chick flicks I suspect will be proffered; I don't wear makeup, like, ever. It's kinda icky. But I'll go hang out, and I'll buy supplies to make french toast in the morning. Yummy.

And if the sewage--oh, yeah, we've got fucking sewage in the basement again--isn't cleaned up by the time I get home, my landlord is getting beaten with the hose.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

We're Moving

Chris finally checked out the house last night. He approved. The landlords are supposed to bring me a rental agreement form today so we can get started on the whole crazy renting process.

Here's the deal with the house: It's in Maple Leaf, near some good buslines, but rather far from campus and the only neighborhood I've ever loved. But it's not quite to Northgate, which is a neighborhood I definitely don't like (far know, mall-y with surrounding accoutrements. I don't like my dining choices within walking distance to include Olive Garden).

The landlords, at least so far, are very friendly, receptive, and seem overly willing to perform routine and necessary maintenance. They are new at this game, having only previously rented to friends, but are knowledgable in all things housey as (1) they are real estate agents and (2) used to live in this house prior to having it completely renovated.

Oh, and it's completely renovated.

It's a 1300-square-foot 1920s house with hardwood floors on the main level, new carpet in the basement, two full baths and three bedrooms. They have clearly put a lot of work into the place. It's very comfortable. While not huge, it seems to use its space well. The kitchen is full of all-new stuff, and despite being relatively small--but not the closet I had in my apartment with J.--it's well laid-out with plenty of storage.

When Steph and I saw this place, we were squeeing like mad: "There's a washer/dryer!" "The kitchen sink isn't surrounded by shitty counters and bad caulking!" "The water heats up right away!" "THERE'S HEAT IN THE BATHROOM!!"

The husband of the couple who owns it seemed amused by our squeeing and shared his own UW-slumlord experiences from back in the '80s. I think his stories beat ours, but still.

Anyway, I feel lucky we found this place first. It should be a welcome change of situation.

I think our current house is making us all sick, anyway. Seriously, the draft from the blatantly unsealed doorways and window shafts combined with whatever mold is growing in the walls and totally unhygienic basement has to be exacerbating whatever cold or flu is going around. Chris has fucking pneumonia. I felt like shit all Sunday and Monday. Sudafed has stopped working for me, which is fine, because now I can focus on the crappiness without medicine head. (My drug regimen now includes ibuprofen, honey lemon echinacea Ricola, saline nasal spray, and a ridiculous amount of green tea.)

Anyway, things to think about. I have little more to say here today.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

I Know Perfectly Well I'm Not Where I Should Be

We're all sick here.

Chris has bronchitis like crazy. Josie's got a sore throat and isn't too happy about it. Steph is a little overwhelmed with stress. And me, I'm just going crazy.

Well, that, and the stagnant air created by my stupid wall-unit electric heater made me very congested. That sucks.

I'm listening to the Beach Boys and loving it. Not "Surfin' USA," not that there's anything wrong with that, but I am listening to Pet Sounds. It's making me think. About things that are not the introduction to my paper on current treatment of tics in Tourette's syndrome.

I so don't care about school anymore. I just need to get through this quarter, find something productive to do with all of winter quarter, then take two more classes and be done already. That is seven stupid more months of blah before I can go be an overeducated, underpaid (or unemployed) stiff in the real world. Grad school? No, thanks. Even if I wanted to go spend another 3+ years in academia, I don't know what I'd want to study. It'll still be there 20 years from now, anyway.

(fast forward four hours)

Intro done. Sore throat and congestion slightly abated. Dishes done. Wearing an off-white thermal with a St. Maarten t-shirt on top--sort of a visual irony with the warm clothes and the sunny, tropical locale design. Have really nothing more to do today unless I decide to throw my computer out the window in favor of a laptop I can't afford. Hurray.

I need some plans. And money. But mostly plans.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Viva Las Vegas

But not for me.

Some friends from Phoenix are getting married in Vegas this weekend. I wasn't invited--and had no intention of crashing the party; I know these things are expensive and crowded and online friends are pretty low priority--but I did want to go and kick it with the friends who would be in town that I don't get to hang out with much. That sentence was overly complicated, but anyway. It costs too much to fly to Vegas, bussing takes too long, and Amtrak doesn't go from Seattle to Vegas, so I'm not going, and that makes me sad.

The world is a crappy but exciting place. The following are examples:

Bush signed the partial-birth abortion ban into law today. Hur-fucking-rah, asshole, for banning a procedure that doesn't technically exist. I'd say it's less about eroding our rights as women to do as we please with our bodies and more about just being completely idiotic. No one gets to her third trimester and thinks, "oh, shit! I don't want to be a mommy! Please let me have an abortion right now!" Well, she might think it in a moment of panic, but that's not what actually happens. There are extenuating circumtances for such a procedure (dilation and extraction) that go beyond a woman's right to choose. It's about saving lives, for real. Yeah, it sounds like a nasty process, not one anyone would want to go through, but it's something that happens out of necessity, not irresponsibility and immorality. But I'm fucking preaching to the choir here, right?

And, because I'm feeling ultra-pedantic today, I'd like to explain why I am pro-abortion. Again, it's not about a woman's right to choose, ultimately. It's because people are going to get abortions anyway, so they should be safe and legal. And to counter the argument that murders aren't legal: murderers don't typically die in the process of killing another human being. Or even really get hurt. Back alley, coat hanger abortions are excessively dangerous to the pregnant woman.

I don't care about the question of when life begins. It's not practical and it shouldn't be written into law. I will admit, however, that the world is overpopulated now to the point that maybe electing to decrease the number of people created isn't such a bad thing.

Whew. That went on a little too long. Does anyone want to hear me justify porn and legalized prostitution now? I didn't think so.

OK, so the other thing that was more on the positive side of sad/exciting was a foreign correspondent who's worked for CNN, NPR, and the Associated Press, among other organizations, talked to my journalism ethics class this morning about his experiences in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, going to Chechnya, and covering the Moscow theater hostage crisis. It was a fascinating talk, even for one who has no interest in doing what he does. I had lots of questions, but I couldn't quite ask them. But it was a good listen.

In my own effort to go out and see how sad and exciting the world is, I finally turned in my passport application. My crumbling 1988-issued birth certificate received a staple and was put in an envelope with two 2x2 Polaroids of my head, a laser printed form, the clerk's stamped approval, and a check for $55.00 made out to the US Department of State. I think the form contains about three different mailing addresses--the one on my check and driver's license (old Olympia house), the one where I actually receive mail, and my mom's current address.

My plans are getting varied--I need to go talk to someone at STA Travel about my options at this point. I'm not sure the beginning of January is going to be the best time for me to go, so I'm looking into tour packages for Southeast Asia (downside: being an obvious tourista; upside: not being alone) and hoping to swing by KL and visit the Meesh anyway. She's promised to feed me, and I can't miss that shit. I want the cravings.

Chris has some crazy upper respiratory infection and has been coughing nonstop for the past several weeks. He finally went to the doctor yesterday and got a bunch of crazy meds. They like to give him codeine. All this meant I worked 7:30 to 9 a.m. today since his absence was such late notice. It all works out, but Chris is still sick, and that sucks for him. Hack, hack, hack. It's pretty bad.

It's freezing cold still. The first Sloan album sounds very shoegazey--some of the songs strongly recall My Bloody Valentine. This rocks because I love both Sloan and My Bloody Valentine. Right now I want all the money in the world to buy indie rock records. I've had Stereo Total's "C'est la Mort" stuck in my head since yesterday and it's about to drive me insane. I want the new Decemberists album and I want to steal Kevin's copy of their first. He doesn't like it anyway. He also says that song is annoying. He also bought Elliott Smith's last 7" and only wants to play it once.

I have to pee. Bye.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


Best weird question of the day: An elderly man whose wife is in the hospital for dental work asked for the definition of this word. He'd written it in all-capitals, red ballpoint pen, on the top wide line of an index card.

We consulted the says with greater brevity than those Brits that it means "a person who is broad and liberal in standards of religious belief and conduct"--and printed out a sheet of paper in 16-point type with the definitions. He said he couldn't work a computer.

It was, perhaps, sort of a "Harvey Pekar experience."

My Halloween weekend was uneventful. I may be one of the laziest asses in the world, but I managed to both bleach-mop the shitty basement and help clean Kevin's house. That was a blast. Oh, wait, no, it wasn't, but it is kind of nice to not step in shit when I venture downstairs to get something or have it smell awful everywhere. I mean, really, I shouldn't have had to do that--but the landlord is a useless prick. We'd be waiting forever for him to clean the fucking thing, so I cleaned it enough and we're fucking moving.

Speaking of which, pickings are slim. There are a few ads we should reply to for places that might be nice. This sucks immensely.

Halloween I went to see the matinee of Bubba Ho-Tep with Kevin. He said we should sneak in candy, a first for him. I had chocolate and he had jelly beans. The movie was amusing, definitely, and good Halloween fare. We had some kind of dinner I made up in a pinch and wasn't too excited about, then rented movies. I was exhausted and falling asleep by 10 p.m., watching Jerry Seinfeld's I'm Telling You For The Last Time.

Saturday was sort of our anniversary. I'm not one to count these things, but he moved here on Nov. 1 last year, so I'd say that's the definitive, official beginning of the relationship. Of course there were precursors, but the whole moving-from-California-to-Seattle thing made it stick. It ceased to be crush-from-afar territory. I could go sleep at his house and take the bus home. Anyway, we got together for a late Indian buffet lunch, and later went to see Beulah at Graceland.

I didn't care for the club. The tickets said 8 p.m.--a reasonable assumption is 8 is doors, show at 9. We weren't especially keen to see the first act, Jen Wood, so we made it there closer to 10. Which happened to be just when Jen Wood was starting. Beulah was scheduled to go on at 11:45. Now, I normally go to bed around 11. I woke up at 6:30 that morning, for no reason. 11:45? Is late. Anyway, we enjoyed the show up until probably halfway through Beulah's set, at which point I was so completely exhausted I couldn't stand anymore, so we left.

That night, I stayed at Kevin's so I could be a nag of action in the morning and try to help him clean. (His house is, seriously, so unkempt that I don't like to go there. Usually messiness does not deter me to such an extreme, and I feel bad for being naggy, but seriously, it's bad.) I woke up much earlier than him, however, and hung out at the coffee shop at the end of the block for a bit, then came back and spent 20 minutes convincing him to let me clean his bathroom. He was troubled because he should clean it, which he should, but he hasn't, and I'm offering, so let me. How fucked up is it that I had to argue with my boyfriend to clean his fucking bathroom? I'm guessing very. So I cleaned the bathroom a bunch, then started to go around and pick up obvious trash and sort recycling, which was found in piles all over the house.

I spent a good three solid hours cleaning before I was exhausted and it was clear there was little else I could effectively do. He was helping at this point, too. I walked to Taco del Mar and got us vegan burritos. After we ate, he took me home.

My housemates and I have been playing a fun game of Let's Buy Bags of Fun Size Halloween Candy Bars To Share. Josie first bought Three Musketeers, most of which found themselves in Chris's mouth. Chris then bought Almond Joys--split between himself and Lauren--and Nutrageous, which I consumed in mass quantities. Sunday I decided to share Peanut Butter Cups with the house, so I headed out to Safeway for some post-Halloween discounts.

At Safeway, my time for Encounter with a Dweeb had arrived.

I grabbed the PBCs, a half-gallon of Dreyer's Light that was on sale for $3 and has the additional benefit of being delicious, and a loaf of Essential Bakery Rosemary Diamante and got in the slowest line in the world. The guy in front of me commented, "Good thing we're in the Express Lane, huh?" I responded in the affirmative. After an awkward pause, the weird thing began.

The guy did that thing where you scope out the contents of the other person's basket. I mean, most people do this on a regular basis, but surreptitiously and without the intent of using information from said scopage to make conversation. This guy did it to make conversation. He did it to hit on me like a big dweeb.

"Chocolate fudge, huh?" he asked, referring to my ice cream.

Oh, shit. I did my best to avoid eye contact. "Uh, yeah, it's pretty good for being light."

"Oh, it's light, huh?" he replied.

I let the conversation fade into oblivion for a moment. Then I got stupid.

"I don't know why I even come here. It's always like this."

"Maybe it's for the people you meet," he said. Oh, like that wasn't fucking pointed or anything.

I tried to diffuse the situation by bringing up crazy people. "I don't know, a lot of crazy people are around here. My housemate always runs into them. He has the best crazy people stories."

"Maybe you should make some up," he suggested.

"Uh, no. One time a lady tried to hit him with a pay phone. Not at the pay phone, with the pay phone. I can't beat that."

"Oh, ha ha," he said.

The line moved forward. People used the space between us to move carts, for which I was grateful. Then it was his turn.

After he paid, he waited at the end of the checker stand and rifled through his bags. I hate it when people hover there. Even worse is when they hover in front of the card reader so you can't do your business, so at least he wasn't doing that. I punched in my number and slid my card, not looking to my right at all.

Then the man wants cigarettes.

I should point out that I'm a little paranoid he was in part attracted to me because I smelled like cigarettes at the time. I was wearing a jacket and scarf that had accompanied me to Graceland, where they soaked up all kinds of second-hand smoke. (Side rant: You can talk about smokers' rights all you want, and I think you have a point, but at the same time, I know a lot of nonsmokers who don't like going out to things like shows--so not like a bar where you can "choose" a non-smoky one or whatever--partially because their clothes will fucking reek afterwards.) So I'm afraid he wants to make conversation with me over his damn cigarettes.

And the checker goes to get him a pack while I'm waiting for him to press a fucking button to complete my transaction. I could have smacked the idiot.

Anyway, after that, I high-tailed it out of there.

Join us next time, for more tales of woe and bitchy Whole Foods sales clerks!