Wednesday, May 24, 2006


If you don't read Robert Ludlum, the following will not be funny.
Actually, the chances of it being funny are pretty slim either way.
Don't say I didn't warn ya.

The gray sedan cruised slowly through the darkened city, the glare from the headlights illuminating the rain-slick street. The driver of the car was distracted, confused, as he guided the vehicle carefully around the corners, through the night. He seemed to be searching for something -- a pattern, a plan, some link to the cipher that was his mission.
Suddenly a thought pierced his brain: ice cream! That was it! Ice cream was the key! The man gripped the steering wheel in a claw-like grip as a thousand thoughts rushed through his mind with gripping intensity. He knew, with a knowledge born of knowing, that ice cream was his purpose, the central element that put in motion the chain of events bringing him to this place.
Powerful, far-reaching decisions had been made in small, cramped rooms, rooms in which powerful decisions were made. Strategies had been developed, orders given, operations put in place, anonymously with complete deniability, the sources reaching to the highest levels of security and four-zero clearance.
Fragments of conversation came back to him, as if from a former existence. He saw in his mind the one who was his life, his everything, standing by the garbage pail in the kitchen.
"Oh my darling, my love! You are my life, my everything! Please go get some ice cream" she had said.
"I will go." he had replied, knowing the pain his leaving would cause. "But I will come back to you, my darling, my love."
Where there had been indecision before, now there was purpose, as the man in the car increased the speed of the vehicle. He gripped his Graz-Burya automatic tightly in his right hand, his left guiding the car to its destination, the parking lot of 7-11. He ran, crouching, under the hot white lights in the front of the store, then dove through the double glass doors, rolling over and over, ignoring the needles of white hot ice cold pain that burst like fire -- or possibly ice -- through his sprained wrist and shoulder.
"I hate it when that happens!" he snarled at the startled clerk, a young Black with fine features. Pointing the automatic with its silencer in place at the clerk, the man limped to the freezer and withdrew a half gallon of Maple Walnut. He threw several thousand francs on the counter and slipped through the door into the night.

David's turn

Took D to Austin this time. Some pics...

Skate park:

Saw a performance by a Mexican group called Bronco. They're really famous, or at least they were. I bought tapes of them 10 yrs ago. We saw them at a free concert opening a grocery store, so either they're very philanthropic or things ain't quite like they used to be...

Johnny & Javier

Me n David

Thursday, May 18, 2006

i find this amusing

Jay Are is the one who first pointed me at Topic Drift. To get a flavour of what it's like, try this:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Then they left

I will be in the Sacramento area for the next 4 days. Specifically, in Roseville, which is a city unto itself entirely distinct from Sacramento, and don't you forget it.

I shall return briefly Thursday night to Seattle to pick up my son and take him with me to Austin for the weekend. I had promised both my kids I would take them to see the city where I spend so much of my time. Since Sam went last time, now it's David's turn.

One nice thing about both spots is that they offer lots of opportunity to practice Spanish, which I've been working on lately. When I turned 40 and started getting divorced, I sort of decided I needed to stop lying around and do more with my life before I wake up one morning and realize I'm dead and everything. So I lost a little weight, started practicing my Spanish more, tried to eat better, use my time better, etc. One day perhaps you can be as splendid as I.

That is all at this time. Happy Mothers Day to all who deserve it. :-)

Friday, May 12, 2006

the promised, yet not highly anticipated, pictures of our cruise

We took a ferry past this big hotel, which I've forgotten the name of, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Super8.

Little island with a lighthouse and a few buildings. Didn't look like anyone was living there fulltime.

Our snorkeling guide caught one of the rays and people took turns holding/kissing it. He told us it was good luck to kiss the ray. Not sure if that's really an island tradition, or one made up to make the tourists look silly. We didn't need any help with that in any case -- I never saw such a soft, pale, well-fed group as we were.

We all had to wear the stupid yellow vests, whether we could swim or not. At least they didn't make us blow them up if we didn't want to.

When I picked up this starfish, it still had ahold of the shell of an urchin* it had eaten.

This plant or animal looked a lot like a penis to me, so since maturity-wise I'm still 9 yrs old, I had to take a picture...

*This, not this.

it gets worse

she finally washed it off, but for a while i was worried it was going to spread to her whole body...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


From nerdygirl...

A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

--Stephen Crane

Also, here are pictures

The hotel I always stay at put me in the owner's suite this time. It was nice. Didn't say it was interesting, though.

These are people I know in Austin. Plus a good view up my right nostril, just in case.

At the Pecan Festival, I knelt (kneeled?) down in someone's discarded gum. It was very special. Everyone laughed when I stood up, including passersby. I laughed, too, but not as hard as my daughter.

This is the kind of tattoo I'm planning to get, only on my face.

That is all at this time.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

learning about things

I have a friend whose website is called learning for living. That's all I have to say about that.

Except that a few of the things I've gone thru in the last while (eg, divorce) have reminded me that we're always learning about living. Or we should be. I'm less about having things figured out now. More about just being the best I can be in my situation and being willing to be wrong, being willing to change my mind, being willing to learn. Most of the stuff I spew about relationships is basically "Here's How It Seems To Me Right Now". Your mileage may vary.


Some things I have observed lately:

A while ago I watched someone field a request for a favor from a friend. It was the type of thing I'd have handled by either
a) saying yes, and possibly regretting it, or
b) saying no, and feeling guilty
The person I was watching did neither one -- she said (paraphrased), "You know, that really sounds like a lot of work. Let me think about it, and decide if I can do it or not. Let's talk tomorrow, okay?"
That may not seem like a big deal to you -- but to me it was very instructive. It was honest, it was authentic, it was not offensive, and it allowed her to make her own choice about whether to take on the favor.

Person A was supposed to meet person B at a certain place and time, but fell asleep and missed the appointment. Instead of telling a white lie ("I didn't feel well"), or making a lot of excuses for *why* she fell asleep, she simply said "I'm so sorry. I fell asleep. Please forgive me."
Simple, straightforward, disarmingly honest, effective.

Person C needed to tell person D not to nag her any more (about something D felt needed fixing in C's life). C said "You're my friend. I love you. I appreciate very much that you worry for me. I respect your views. But the things you want me to do are *my* decision, for *my* life. I value your friendship. I value your concern. Thank you for everything you have done for me. But I need you to not tell me what to do, to not insert yourself into my affairs, as I don't insert myself in yours. "
Once again, honest, clear, and non-offensive.

My point with the above is that one of the things I've learned recently is that I had developed a habit of managing people. That is, of attempting to manage their perceptions of me. I surmise I learned it in Jr High, when I found that the real, authentic me didn't command a lot of (okay, any) respect or admiration.

There's a limit, of course -- depending on who we're interacting with, a certain amt of perception management may be necessary. And we probably all have aspects of our personality we're better off not expressing fully.

But I am trying to learn to be more authentic, more present, less judgmental, less manipulative in the way I live my life. It's different, and good.

Apruh Poe of nothing

If you like words, I recommend the following:

Wordstruck by Robert MacNeil

A Word A Day

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson


As people have pointed out in the past, there are a number of words/phrases in English that are always (or nearly) followed by other words/phrases.
1. very few things are wreaked. or wrought. vengeance and havoc, mostly, i think.

2. does "every man jack of you" ever do anything but walk the plank?

Anybody have any other examples?


And speaking of wreaking: did you know that the most frequently used verbs (eg, be, make, do, go) are the most likely to be irregularly conjugated? I guess using them all the time is what allows them to stay irregular -- verbs tend to "regularize", especially as they fall out of use. Example: the past tense of slay was slew, now tends to be slayed; Loan/Leant/Loaned; etc.


And now speaking of "loaned": I can't remember where I read it, but there's a conversation in a novel that goes:
Boy 1: Where'd you get that [item]?
Boy 2: Loaned it off a guy...


[interesting part goes here]

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bizzy bizzy little bee

No time to make interesting blog posts. This will have to do.

Flew Samantha out to meet me in Austin TX for Cinco de Mayo and the Pecan Festival. We had a nice time. Pictures above. Or possibly below. Never quite sure with blogger...

Two statements by Samantha:
1. About an altoid she has just spit out the window onto the street: "Oh, look how lonely the little altoid looks out there. I'm sorry, little altoid."
2. About her brother: "I suppose little whiner-boy will get whatever he wants, as usual..."


"First-, second-, third-, and fourth-generation hippies..."
- man my age, pointing at me, Samantha, a petite woman, and a little girl

- blind man, after banging his head on an overhanging sign

"I look in the mirror, and I know I'm black, but am I ugly or what?"
- non-ugly 30-ish man, to himself

Me: I have no idea if that guy is gay. But those two guys there are.
Sam: How do you know?
Me: Well, I don't know. But they have perfect short haircuts, matching striped shirts, matching short socks & tennis shoes so white it blinds you, and their denim shorts are ironed, with creases. You don't get any gayer than that.
Sam [in a clearly audible voice]: Well, I think you can be gayer than that.
Me [to myself]: Well, yes. But not more embarrassed than me right now...