Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's All in How You Ask

Kathy walks upstairs and heads for the futon where she's reading her book. As she takes her position there I smile at her, and she asks, "What?"
"Just looking at you, admiring your cleavage." The angle from the desk looking downward at her lying on her stomach and propped on her elbows provides a lovely view.
She smiles back.
I grab my camera -- "Maybe I should take a picture."
"Uh uh!"
"But it would just be for personal use."
"Well, would you rather I masturbate to you and your cleavage, or to some random chick I find on the internet?"
She quickly moves to give me a better angle for a photo.

Monday, May 30, 2005


Buy more stock in roses
Millionaires will always woo
Don't be shocked if roses
make a millionaire of you

-- "Roses," The Magnetic Fields

The first two are from our garden, and the bush is two doors down.

Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Essentially 36 hours of bedrest later, I am in fact walking, albeit slowly and gingerly. The swelling never got too bad -- there's just a mildly discolored, puffy one-square-inch square to indicate that anything happened. The foot is sore, but it doesn't really hurt, and it doesn't feel like I'm doing any additional damage. I'm even going up and down stairs, so no longer am I restricted to one floor. I might even be able to get to work on Tuesday, yippee.

If you were foolish enough to ask what I did for 36 hours of bedrest (but you're not, you know better), I'd have to tell you that I did virtually nothing. I did start writing a short story, but otherwise I lived a completely mundane existence that jumped between icing my foot, reapplying the Ace bandage after icing my foot, eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom (on one foot yesterday, using both today), talking on the phone to a number of people (including my Dad, checking up on me from Italy after he read my blog) and hanging out on the web. I should have grabbed a good book, but I don't actually have anything at home on my "must read" list, and didn't feel motivated enough to read something that I wasn't burning to read. Pathetic, but true. For what it's worth, doing nothing made me absolutely stircrazy -- I don't want to imagine how bad it'd be to be bedridden for a week or longer.

Maybe tomorrow I can get out of the house some, even if a nice long walk is off the table.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


It's funny how causation works. Yesterday we went out to dinner with friends, and I ate too much. Rather than stop there, however, the consensus was to press onward to Ben & Jerry's for dessert. And it was nice, but it was somewhat stupid. So this morning, I awoke at 4am to an upset stomach. Unable to sleep, I went upstairs to hang out until I might be able to relieve myself. I played bridge for a while, and when I felt the urge to go, I tried to finish out the hand. But my opponents were slow, so I bailed, and proceeded to hastily head to the bathroom. Unfortunately, I had sat on my foot while at the computer, and it had fallen asleep. So when I half jogged onto a sleeping foot, the sound of several cracks/pops led to the discovery that the foot had not planted properly, and down I went. And while I'll spare you the in-between steps, I called my insurance's 24-hour nurse program, and was told to keep my foot elevated, rest 24 hours, ice every so often, etc. And that if it's a bad sprain, which is what she says it sounds like, it can take a couple of weeks to heal.

So the quick answer to how I hurt my foot is that I ate too much the night before.

Of course, it's nice timing to have this happen at the start of a 3-day weekend, especially when Kathy could really use more than an invalid in her life. I'm also bummed that I'll have to miss tonight's D.C. United game.

And with that popping sound, I'm worried that it's worse than a sprain. So I'll keep a close eye on things. At least I can be thankful that I have a portable computer.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tennis Ball


At birth you are rushed
To a sterile and dry place,
Leaving thousands of siblings
Packaged with but two.
The nascent smell is overpowering,
In such close and closed quarters,
Your fuzzy sides gently touching
On one side a brother,
In every way your identical
And on the other your cage
Trapped behind plastic walls.

You lose your sense of identity,
Surrounded by others
In other plastic prisons,
In an enormous warehouse,
A place of misery,
The contradiction of thousands
Living isolated together.

Eventually someone picks your cage,
And throws you in a trunk
Where you sit for days,
Until you are grabbed firmly,
You hear a giant popping sound
And you are freed from your cell.
Free to bounce around,
Or so you think.
For your freedom is but an illusion
And your fate is not for you to control.

Your bounces are timed
Between painfully slamming rackets
Bent on destroying you.
The only reprieve comes when you
Hit the gentle net and drop weakly to the ground.
And in the end, when your nerves are deadened,
And you are too exhausted to move,
They collect you and your brethren,
And put you back in your confining quarters.

The ritual repeats itself, and again,
But at the end of one day,
You know it is the end.
You can hardly move, and you know that rest
Won't do the trick.
You are freed from your merciless agonies,
But not altogether freed.

A hunkering menacing slobbering creature
Approaches and takes you in its mouth,
Drenching you in its nasty fluids.
It runs and stops and drops you,
You are picked up and hurtled through the yard,
Bounce twice and then roll,
And when you have hardly stopped moving,
The creature returns so you can relive
The horror repeatedly.

Why, you ask, is this the way the ball bounces?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tonight, on a Very Special aaron's blog...

...I reveal that Kathy and I are doing IVF. For those unfamiliar with the term, that stands for In Vitro Fertilization. In other words, we haven't been able to conceive, so we're going to see if putting egg and sperm in a Petri dish will do the trick. Assuming they get together there, after a few days a couple of embryos would be inserted into Kathy's womb, in the hope that the embryo(s) "take root" there. It's actually a fairly common procedure, especially for one that's been around fewer than 30 years. It's also fairly expensive (and our insurance doesn't cover it), so we're been fortunate that my in-laws are helping us out.

When we started seeing a fertility doctor, we said that we wouldn't end up at IVF. We'd try less drastic measures and see if those worked, and if not, then we'd stop. Well, they didn't work, and we didn't stop. And it is somewhat drastic -- Kathy is taking daily injections that are supposed to help her produce multiple eggs, so the doctor can surgically remove them. Ideally, she should produce at least eight eggs, but last time we tried, she only produced four, so we didn't go ahead with the removal surgery. And the injections Kathy's taking (self-administered) really mess up her hormones, so for example today, she called me from work to tell me she was about to start crying for no reason. These shots will continue for a few days, then other shots will take place for a few more days, then comes the surgery, probably at the end of next week. So things are a bit rough right now, and we know they'll probably get worse before they get better.

If this doesn't work, we're not sure what's next. We might try one more time, but I think that would be it. We know we can be happy without children. Hell, some of the anxiety we're going through is about the possibility of having children, especially if we have more than one. At the moment, we're not considering adoption, but again, unless we're at the point of stopping IVF, it's hard to say what we're going to want to do at that time.

Meanwhile, my work sucks, but my standard stress release mechanism, a beer or two, has been drastically curtailed to increase our chances of success with IVF. It's a minor complaint, but if you've seen me having only a single drink in an evening (and often passing altogether) over the past few months, now you know why. And truthfully, while I'm not an alcoholic, I do enjoy good beer, and I do enjoy hanging out drinking beer, so this whole thing has affected my social life generally. Still, I suppose it's not so bad -- I would expect that having a kid or two would have a greater effect.

So I'm telling you this now because it's very much the center of what's going on both in my mind and in my life. I didn't tell you this before because it feels awkward to talk about this stuff in this medium, rather than in person or even on the phone.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rate Your Life!

It seems that people, including myself, complain an awful lot when life can be pretty good. So I thought of a simple, one-question quiz -- Rate your life on a scale of 1-10. No defined parameters or anything -- just do it.

For me:
Relationship is excellent
Work sucks
Lifestyle is quite good
Social life is a bit weak at present
Where I live is a love/hate relationship
Support System is good
Taking all these elements into account and weighting them according to how I see fit, I give my life a 7. If work didn't need to factor in, I think it'd be 8.5-9.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Brush with the Past

May 2005 -- Walking into work, I spot a familiar face reading a newspaper as he's walking. I head in his direction and he looks up before I arrive.
"Aaron, how ya' doin'?"
"Hey Charlie."

July 1993 -- Newly arrived in DC, I'm crashing on the sofa of a friend's place, my worldly possessions are in a rental truck out in the apartment complex's parking lot, and the truck's due back in one more day. The room for rent I'd pinned my hopes on has finally fallen through, and I'm desperately trying to find somewhere to live, somewhere that will take me, my stuff, and most importantly, my dog. I can extend the truck rental if I have to (though being unemployed, I certainly don't want to have to), but my brother's bringing Rosie up in a couple of weeks, and I can't keep her at my friend's apartment.
"Yes, I'm calling about the room for rent?"
"Yeah? When can you come over?"
"Right now if you'd like."
"Yeah, ok."
"My name's Aaron."
"Mine's Charlie."

Now -- We'd last spoken in the Fall, but it'd been several years since we'd gotten together. Strange, considering we work less than half a mile away, and I pass by his building whenever I walk to work. He finally looks older -- the perpetually boyish face showing a bit of what the years have brought, and gray finally settling into his dark hair. I want to know about the boys, which is good, because that's what he wants to talk about.

Then -- I move in on the evening of the same day. It's a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom rambler in Falls Church, right by Seven Corners. At some point before I decide to take the place, he tells me about his pending divorce, and his three sons, ages 6, 5, and 3. He tells me that they'll be living in the third bedroom about half the time. Somehow I miss such minor details -- I've found a place to live, a place that'll take my dog, sight unseen.

Now -- Conor is finishing up his sophomore year, and is doing great. He's in a magnet school, getting good grades, and doing great in sports. He was featured in the paper for a soccer hat trick he scored, but his favorite sport is football. Alex, finishing up his freshman year at a different high school, is also thriving academically and athletically.

Then -- It's strange, this totally alien environment of small children surrounding me while I'm still a mess from my ex. But strange is not the same as bad. Charlie is great in action with the boys -- that he loves them is never in doubt. He's very patient, hardly ever raising his voice, constantly giving them his unconditional love in a very difficult time for all of them. He never speaks bad of his spouse in front of the kids, even though she doesn't reciprocate. She's fighting for full custody of the children, while Charlie wants joint custody. Charlie ultimately wins the battle, but his ex is never ready to cede the war -- eventually, her determination to fight costs her even joint custody.

Now -- Shawn lives with his mother. He got kicked out of school in 8th grade, for smoking pot. At that time his mother swooped in and offered him a chance to start fresh. Charlie didn't say no, but he later came to realize that "fresh start" meant was that Shawn didn't have to face the consequences of his actions. Charlie feels that Shawn has become something of a lost lamb -- his mother indulges his laziness, for fear that he'd go back to Charlie. Shawn's about to graduate, and has found a New England school that'll accept him. He's interested in drama.

Then -- When the kids aren't around, we talk a great deal, about relationships, writing, music, and anything else. We also go to a few concerts -- he delights in taking me to Hot Tuna, in which Jorma Koukanen, from whom Charlie took some lessons, is front and center. Despite these interests, he has but a single devotion, and that's to his children.

Now -- "It was great seeing you Charlie."
"You too man -- I'll tell Shawn you say hello." We start moving past one another in the directions of our respective workplaces.
"Thanks, I'd like that. When do you want to do lunch?"
"Work's pretty busy, I usually work right through lunch."
"What else are you doing outside of work and the boys?"
"Nothing really -- all the activities for Conor and Alex keep me pretty busy. With the two of them at different schools, I'm constantly going all over the place."
"You need your own life too -- what happens when they go off to college?"
"Don't remind me!" More than a trace of annoyance, anger even, slips through in his response, and as we leave the meeting place, I worry that I have hurt him somehow.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fundamentalists & Sex

Pharmaceutical companies are nearing the point of releasing a vaccine for HPV, one of the most common STDs, but more significantly, a cause of cervical cancer. Roughly 4,000 women in the U.S., and 250,000 women worldwide, die each year from cervical cancer, and that number is projected to expand to a million by 2050, assuming no deployment of a vaccine.

But because HPV is an STD, some fundamentalists oppose it because it might promote non-marital sex. From the Family Resource Center's website:
But there is always a behavioral prevention available for sexually transmitted diseases: abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage. Although we support research on vaccines and medicines against diseases, including sexually transmitted ones, we see potential harm in giving young people vaccines against STDs. First, young people are risk-takers; they may think a vaccination is a license to engage in premarital sex. Second, vaccinations may help to reduce the risk of one disease, but young people may be exposed to new and unknown risks. Third, there is no vaccination for ailments of the heart. What will protect young people from the loneliness and regret they are likely to experience after premarital sex? Abstinence is the best medicine available for STDs; no one has ever needed a vaccine or antibiotic to treat a case of abstinence.

While that's their general position, they have also specifically come out against an HPV vaccine. If any fundamentalist happens to be out there and agrees with the FRC (among others), I have several questions:
  1. Assuming a vaccine, why do you think behavior would change? It seems to me that if one's opposition to pre-marital sex is tied to beliefs rather than risks (putting aside the presence of plenty of risks even if HPV is eradicated), nothing would change.
  2. Lots of people are going to engage in pre-marital and extra-marital sex regardless of the other people's religious beliefs -- are you saying it's better that such folks (a.k.a., sinners) die than allow a vaccine? What about the spouse of an adulterer, who doesn't even know about a cheating husband until it's too late?
  3. The overarching question -- why do many fundamentalists feel that they need to decide morality for everyone, rather than let God be the judge?
  4. (Combining #2 & 3) How certain are you that God would rather one spouse of an adulterer die than save the lives of sinners?

Still on the topic of pre-marital sex, but on the Catholic side of the ledger, a pregnant student was banned from her Catholic high school graduation (she was allowed to graduate, just not attend the ceremony). I'm most disgusted by the hypocrisy embodied by the school doing this while permitting that the father of the child to attend graduation. I can't help but wonder if she would have been allowed to attend the ceremony if she'd gotten an abortion.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

We Were Merely Freshmen

On January 28, 1986, the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after takeoff, killing everyone aboard. The country was shocked, as it watched the scene play itself out endlessly on television. The news most focused on Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher and the first private citizen to fly on a space shuttle. It was a national tragedy.

Very shortly after the accident, my roommate went to the campus store, and bought a giant poster of a space shuttle. With an exacto knife, he cut the shuttle out. We hung the poster with its gaping hole on our door. As for the space shuttle, we ripped it into little pieces, taping some onto the walls, and most onto the ceiling. A few of the pieces we made into a mobile that hung from the light fixture centered in the room.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Bird and 2 Bugs

Some photos from our Sunday trip visiting a friend in the nearby "country":

Posted by Hello

Think Junebug would be happy living in the country?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweek and the Koran

Newsweek has acknowledged that its witness isn't certain that he read in a forthcoming official report that interrogators flushed a Koran down the toilet. Based on the reaction of the Bush Administration, which essentially blames irresponsible reporting for rioting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and deaths in Afghanistan, you'd think that it had been proven that no misuse of the Koran had taken place. Of course that's not the case, as the witness has merely stated that he can't remember if it was in the official report, or just in an investigative report. All told, that's a fairly minor detail for the Administration to base its indignation on. Especially when Newsweek took the fairly unusual step of showing its story to a senior Pentagon official for review before it published its story, and received no criticism for its description of this matter. Even more especially when Newsweek isn't the first to report these wrongs (also scroll here)! Then add in the fact that such abuse has been encouraged in camps that teach American counter-intelligent agents (see bottom of this piece), and there's very little reason to doubt the veracity of the underlying assertions.

Newsweek isn't blameless, but what they did wrong pales in comparison to the wrongs perpetrated in Guantanamo Bay. And if the story caused rioting and deaths in Muslim countries, the blame lies with the people who committed the deeds and the government that supported them, and not Newsweek's reporting of them.

So why is Newsweek the fall guy instead of the BA?

Reminds me of the whole CBS fiasco last year -- despite the fact that there's still a critical underlying story (Bush's wartime record), somehow the messenger becomes the story, and thereby drowns out the underlying story.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Six Years Ago

Six years ago, plus a day, I woke up with an upset stomach. A really upset stomach. I vomited pretty much everything I'd eaten the previous day. Sadly, I had a good idea what had happened -- I'd made the mistake of eating red meat (it was the only meat on the buffet a friend took me to, and the buffet was even sparse on veggies), and having given up red meat several years before, my body could no longer handle it. I was in miserable shape. Kathy was more than a bit stressed by my condition. We were supposed to be doing lots of errands, and it fell to her to do them all by herself. We were hosting a party all the next day, and there I was, too weak to do anything. She was not a happy camper. We went out for dinner with some of the people in town for the party, and I had to leave early -- I couldn't even handle broth.

Six years ago today, I was still in bad shape, but fortunately some friends came over and helped Kathy with setup for the party, including doing some of the last-minute errands. Lots of guests came, many from far away, and I lay weakly on the couch, struggling to do much beyond greeting them. Thanks to Kathy and friends, the party was enjoyed by all who attended, despite me, not because of me. Toward the end of the day I started to feel better, so that by that evening, I wanted to go out. Kathy yelled and screamed at me, pointing out that we had stuff going on the next day, and that I needed to be in decent shape for that. I promised her that I would do whatever I needed to do the next day, but that I really wanted to go out then. That wasn't good enough for her, and ultimately I relented -- I knew that nothing was more important than maintaining domestic tranquility, and that even if I won, I'd lose.

Six years ago tomorrow, I was still a bit weak, and didn't eat as much as I might have otherwise, but I was indeed up for the demands the day presented. I remember we both woke up pretty early, and before things got too busy, we took a short walk around our neighborhood -- I specifically recall that a neighbor's poppies had come into bloom, and we stood there admiring them for a while. The fight from the previous night was washed away -- we even laughed about it a bit. She could plainly see that I was doing better, and indeed, later that day, we walked down the aisle, said "I do," and got married.

Friday, May 13, 2005


My boss' last day was last Friday, but early yesterday morning, the managers joined him for one last activity -- birding on Roosevelt Island. It's a nice activity for a couple of hours, though I wish it were doable later in the day. In addition to binoculars, I brought my new camera. While I was only able to get a couple of nice photos (out of the dozens I took), a couple are better than none.

Oriole way up in a distant tree -- make sure you click on it (the zoom really came in handy):

Gold Finch in a thicket:
Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Excerpt from The Cranium Chronicles

aaron, your last post begs the obvious -- why are you unwilling, afraid even, to move elsewhere without a plan?

I don't know that I can answer that directly, but I think it's somehow related to the year between my 24th and 25th birthdays. Whether my past history is the cause, another symptom, or something else, I don't really know, but what happened then feels relevant now.

That year was probably the most challenging one of my life. When I celebrated my 24th birthday in July 1992, I had stopped my law school jobs one week earlier, so I could devote my days to preparing to take the Bar. I took the Bar at the end of July, followed by a trip to Deep Creek, Maryland with my ex-fiance, still live-in girlfriend. En route to Deep Creek (which was to be spent with her family), ex broke up with me altogether. Sucky vacation was followed by awkward living arrangement, to put it mildly, that lasted seven months. At least we had a second bedroom. And of course, I needed a job, so I got one, as a temp doing data-entry not much above minimum wage. I kept looking around for a law job, but between my pickiness and the slim job pickings, nothing turned up.

In December, I caught a huge break. In my last semester of law school, I had aced a seminar co-taught by my favorite professor and the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court (it was one of my highest scores in my law school career). When a law clerk for the Chief Justice had to leave in the middle of the year, the Chief Justice interviewed me. I didn't have the Moot Court or Law Review credentials, but I guess I made a good enough impression in that class (it didn't hurt that another of her clerks was a classmate of mine, and that she respected the professor's opinion), so she hired me effective in January. It was quite an experience, both good and bad. Mostly bad. I worked like crazy (not just me -- the judge's clerks worked much harder than clerks for any other judge on the court), but the judge wasn't satisfied with my work. I kept at it, but to no avail. I'm sure that it didn't help that I fell apart emotionally when my ex moved out at the end of February. When the judge fired me a couple of months later, she blamed herself more than she blamed me. She told me that her senior clerk had similar difficulties when he started working for her years earlier, but whereas then she had the time to work through them with him, now she felt that her duties as chief justice didn't allow for that time. Her comforting words, regardless of their truth (and I don't know for certain whether and how much they were true) had little effect on me -- I thought the world of the judge, and I was crushed that I couldn't meet her expectations.

It only took a few days after that to sort things out. I was done with school, had no girlfriend or job, and was living in a city (and state) I wasn't particularly fond of. With nothing to lose, I decided to move to DC. It took a couple of months to put the plan into action, but Fourth of July weekend I drove a Ryder truck that was hauling all my worldly possessions up to the DC suburbs. When I celebrated my 25th birthday a couple of days later, I was still without a job (in fact, it would take another four months), but at least I had moved somewhere I wanted to be.

So over a decade ago, even though I didn't like where I lived, it took losing everything else before I finally left.

It sounds like you don't much like leaping into the unknown, at least when you have a choice. So why don't you start formulating a plan?

End of Excerpt

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Back in Class with so much to Learn

Today I finished up a 3-day course that I attended to learn how to do something workwise I don't really want to do. On the bright side, the class was moderately painless -- the teacher was fairly engaging, though his teaching style could be a bit frustrating -- he asked for opinions on things for which we had no expertise (which is why we were taking the class), for the purpose of shooting us down. It definitely wasn't personal, and he served most of it with some humor, so it wasn't as bad as it sounds. Sure there were some boring parts, but the way I dealt with that was by being a very active participant. In so doing, I wasn't trying to be a pain, though I'm sure it came out that way a couple of times. The class moved at a fairly leisurely rate, and likely could have been completed one day earlier. It let out well before my work day would normally end, but rather than return to the office, each day I went home and checked my e-mail, all the while enjoying being out of the office. Tomorrow I'll be back there, hope the time away will help my state of mind there.

Speaking of which, on my way home yesterday, a neighbor told me that over the weekend, she and her husband were in Asheville, and on the spot decided to move there. They already have a contract on a house. Sounds really neat, but it left Kathy and me somewhat saddened that we don't feel like we know what we'd do were we to leave DC. We have a host of places we'd consider living, but always it boils down to what we'd do when we got there. My latest scheme would be to do nothing, or at least, have nothing planned and see what happened when we got there. We wouldn't need to find something right away, and instead would take advantage of how much our house has appreciated since we moved here. Ideally, the place we'd move to would be an area where housing costs are fairly low but the market is just starting to take off, so we could take advantage of its appreciation, repeating the move as often as desired.

I guess it boils down to whether we'll be dreamers or doers. So far, we've been inclined to be the former much more than the latter.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

When Bad Things...

I know how I feel when bad things happen to good people, but I'm not sure how I should feel when they happen to not-so-good people. An obnoxious neighbor of mine recently had a serious accident, and while I feel awful for her, there's a little part of me that doesn't. Sort of like, I don't want anything bad to happen to anyone, but if something bad had to happen to someone, better her than someone good. I feel somewhat guilty having these thoughts, but I can't deny having them.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Beautiful Day

Damn today was amazing! I was outside as much as possible, and it didn't feel like enough. So much is in bloom, and I want to capture all of it on film. Here's the second poppy from our little garden:

And here's one of our dozens of daisies (along with a visitor):

A neighbor has planted some really pretty flowers, though I admit I don't know for certain what they are (a type of daisy?):

While our roses haven't bloomed yet (though a couple are getting very close), someone on the Hill has done wonders with some rose vines:

Finally (for now), here are some gorgeous azaleas -- if you look closely on the white ones, you can see speckled streaks of pink:

Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Thoughts on Flight #1 out of Dulles

You know I'm not generally afraid on planes, even of dying. But last night, during some fairly mild turbulence, suddenly I was terrified. Not over the possible consequences to me, but over the possibility that I wouldn't ever see you again -- you not being there at the end, and me not having the opportunity to say goodbye. I mean, we said goodbye when you dropped me off at the airport, but as I contemplated the possibility of death, however slim, it felt like our farewells were perfunctory. At least it felt like mine was, relative to what I'd want to say if I had any inkling that it could be the final farewell.

I love you with every fiber of my being. Indeed, over time, I know our love has grown deeper, and keeps evolving, to depths I wouldn't have thought possible on our wedding day. So it hurts me to think I'm capable of taking you for granted in any way, even when it's just taking for granted that you'll always be there. I am only consoled by the fact that it's human nature. Regardless, I of course did survive, and my brief thoughts on death last night reset my complacency meter back to zero. Be assured that my greeting at Dulles tomorrow night will reflect that.

Friday, May 06, 2005


One thing that really bothers me is when I'm stuck in a traffic jam because of an accident. Actually, that's not true -- what bothers me is when I'm stuck because of damned rubberneckers slowing down to see the accident that's already on the side of the road. What in the world are they hoping to see, and can't they just pull over and let the rest of us get on our way?

Yet here I am, rubbernecking at the Yankees. I'm enjoying the Yankees' disarray at least as much as I am anything the Red Sox are doing. I'm paying more attention to the Yankees than I am to the division-leading Orioles. It's just so much fun to watch a team that's spending so much more money than anyone else in baseball look like crap, particularly when it's the team that's been the Sox' nemesis for so many years.

Admittedly, it's early enough in the season that the Yankees could right their ship, but they have a lot of problems to fix if that's going to happen. And as long as they don't, I'll probably be watching.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Kathy's Birthday Picture

Kathy in Full Birthday Regalia Posted by Hello

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo isn't really a holiday. In the U.S., it's treated as an excuse to drink. I've never been one to need an excuse to drink, but tonight I succumb to the norm, at least tangentially. You won't find me at a Mexican place sucking down Negra Modelos (and certainly not Coronas), however, because to the extent I'm drinking, it'll be at a fish place, and as for what I'll be celebrating, it'll be the occasion of my beloved's birthday. Happy Birthday Kathy!

As it happens, this Cinco de Mayo is also turning out to be Stuff-Your-Face Thursday, as a morning staff meeting provided croissants, and an afternoon going away party provided a ton of chips, salsa, guacamole, and chocolate. This of course is on top of tonight's oversized portions, which will have to include dessert.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Postage Stamps

And while we're on the subject of my new camera, I just wanted to mention that the SD memory card I ordered for it holds 1GB. That's right -- something the size of a stamp holds more than a CD does. Now all that needs to happen is for it to come down in price from just under $100 to the price of a blank CD.

We really do live in an age of wonder -- if only I took the time to appreciate it rather than harp on politics and other crap!

It's Finally Here

The camera is here. I shipped it to Kathy's office (not allowed to come to mine), and when it arrived today, I had her open it to plug in the battery, so I could use it as soon as I got home. Finally, after three months of looking into getting one, there it was. Very comfortable to hold, but that big zoom is definitely going to take some getting used to (any motion you make is magnified 12 times). So here are some shots from today. The first two are of the funniest thing on my block:

And here are a couple of shots showing how powerful the optical zoom is (the second photo is the tree on the roof of the first photo):

Posted by Hello

I think I'm going to be very happy with my camera.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Weblink Inspires a Weak Stab at Flash Fiction

The Party

I was sitting at a table in the library, reading a book on a console, when I noticed someone looking at me from behind the console. And not just anyone -- a beautiful babe. She had light brown hair, a face that looked like one actress on my sister's soaps, and a knowing smile. And nice tits. She had to be at least 19, and I had no idea why she'd be looking at me, an ordinary acne-laden 14 year old.

She said, "You're Noah."

"How do you know my name?"

"You told me to meet you here."

"I did?"

"Well, you will."

And there it clicked. My future self sent this woman back to taunt me. Figures I was this masochistic. But it's unusual -- you're not allowed to time travel before you're 18, and while it's not illegal to visit anyone younger, it is frowned upon.

I asked her boobs, "What's your name?"

"Kelli." She brought her head down to make eye contact with me again.

"And why did I tell you to visit me?"

"You know I'm not allowed to answer that."

"No, I didn't know." I'd never been visited by a time traveler, a.k.a. TT, before, and I wasn't going to take Time Travel 1 until next year.

"Oh, right," she said, the obvious superiority in her expression wavering briefly. Then she explained, "Rule 87 -- You can't tell someone why his or her future self does something."

"But you're allowed to tell me your name?"

"Sure. Rule 18 -- It's good to be polite."

"How many rules are there?"

"It depends on which version of the course you take. The version I took has 113 Rules."

I tried again. "Is there anything you wanted to tell me, or are you just going to laugh at me while I get back to studying?"

"Noah, I mean you, said you hardly ever studied, and that you'd be reading some SciFi book."

She was right, but I was stubborn. "Is there anything you wanted to tell me?"

"Well," she said hesitatingly. "I just wanted to tell you that you should come to The Party."

"What Party?"

"You'll find out."


"It's how we meet."

"No it isn't -- I just met you here."

"I meant, it's how I met you."


She stood silent for a moment, but her expression was less of amusement and more of puzzlement, like she wondered if she'd made a mistake in visiting me. Then she said, "Goodbye Noah."

"Goodbye Kelli."

After she walked out the library door, I returned to the console so I could print out the picture of her that I took when she wasn't looking.


When I was 17, I finally learned about The Party in Time Travel 3. The Party, a.k.a., the first Time Traveler Convention, took place in Old Calendar 2005 -- some college kid came up with the idea to announce a time and place for all TTs to meet, in the hopes that someone would show, thereby proving time travel was possible. He, and the person he stole the idea from, figured that there only needed to be one party, because TTs could go to any time to attend. But just because TTs could to any party, didnt mean they would do something stupid like violate Rule 2 (Don't EVER let anyone pre-Time Travel know that time travel exists). Instead, the future gets a big laugh at the expense of the past as hundreds of kids throughout the years go to the party in time-appropriate costumes.

When it doesn't look like any TTs attend the first party, the next bright guy figures that maybe the future never heard about the last party, and maybe people from the future would hear about his if he has one. And so on. So there were a bunch of these parties, and it was a rite of passage to go to one on your 20th birthday. Still, the first one was known as The Party, and because it was so popular (and because the number of attendees had to be limited so as not to arouse suspicion), you could only go if you were one of The Party Lottery winners.

Three years later, I wasn't at all surprised when I was a lottery winner.

When I got there, a bunch of people were milling around, a few of which looked up sharply when I entered the courtyard. I looked a bit puzzled, laughed sheepishly and shook my head, just like I had been coached. My inquisitors stopped staring so intently for a second, then trained their eyes on the person who had appeared behind me.

I walked over to the refreshment table, grabbed a soda, and started waiting for Kelli. For six years I'd imagined meeting her. Ok, I admit it -- for most of the time I'd imagined a whole lot more than that. But I still hadn't figured out how to introduce myself.

I looked around the room. While there were code words you could drop to see if someone was from the future, a number of TTs were pretty easy to spot. And still, people from 2005 had no clue.

At 9:45, I saw Kelli walk in. She looked stunning, just like she had when she visited me six years earlier, though of course the clothes were different.

She noticed me looking at her, then turned away and walked over to the refreshment table. I followed her over there.


She turned sharply, suddenly very nervous. "What?"

"I'm Noah. You told me to meet you here."

"I did?"

"Well," I said, looking to make sure no one was listening. "You will."

Comprehension hit her beautiful green eyes, and I knew I'd scored a winner. We walked over to a quiet corner, and she asked me, "So Noah -- when are you from?"

Monday, May 02, 2005

On This Day in History...

May 2, 1998 -- Kathy and Aaron went on their first date. The date was scheduled around Kathy's offer to show Aaron around the Captiol Hill neighborhood, as Aaron had just moved to the area one month earlier. They met at lunchtime and proceeded to Misha's, a now-closed Russian deli. After lunch, they explored the vendor booths at Eastern Market, before going to the Capitol, which they walked around. On the way back from the Capitol, Aaron asked about an attractive building to the east of the Capitol. Kathy replied, "That's the Library of Congress. I've never been there, but I hear it's beautiful."

"Well, then let's go." Both delighted in its interior, as it truly was (and still is) beautiful.

From there, they went to Aaron's apartment to escape the rain. When Kathy asked if he had any games they could play, Aaron offered Boggle, though he warned her that he was pretty good. They decided instead to play cards, and did so for a while.

Next they took Rosie (Aaron's dog) and stopped by Kathy's place to grab Nora (Kathy's dog). From there they proceeded to the Capitol lawn. When the rain resumed, it was fairly mild, and the four of them were able to escape it by standing under one of the trees on the lawn.

Afterwards, they returned to Aaron's apartment, where this time Kathy decided to try playing Aaron at Boggle. Kathy had thought his earlier bragging to be "puffing," but after one game, she came to realize that this was not the case. So they returned to playing cards. Upon the conclusion of the game, which Aaron won, he offered to shake her hand, saying "Good game." When Kathy took his hand, he shook hers briefly before pulling her to him and kissing her. Kathy soon overcame her initial surprise to this maneuver, and eagerly reciprocated the kiss.

What started as an afternoon event turned into an entire day of activity, as the couple did not leave each other's company until midnight. Dinner undoubtedly took place, but the details of where and what are lost to the passage of time. While both of them thoroughly enjoyed the day's activities, it would be more than a stretch for either to claim that on that day, they knew that they would be together seven years later.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Another Sign of Spring

The azaleas are in bloom, even the scraggly one on our front steps.
Posted by Hello

I'm currently taking a break from breaking the outside spigot -- I got the top part detached, but the stem doesn't appear to be there. Not sure I broke it off, because I can't find it anywhere. I wish I knew better what I was doing. On the bright side, one of the nice things about going to the local hardware store is that someone from there is going to drive over to help me figure out what to do next.