Okay, so I'm cheating. It's Sunday morning, and I didn't actually write anything
on Saturday. sfgoth is down and probably will be until sometime early next week,
and that resulted in me being very, very lazy. It's sad how when just the slightest
bit of structure falters, whatever induces my meager since of disciplince collapses,
I go into total sloth mode. Really, it's pathetic. Am I only doing this because I
have an expectant audience?
Okay, so I'm cheating. It's Sunday morning, and I didn't actually write anything on Saturday. sfgoth is down and probably will be until sometime early next week, and that resulted in me being very, very lazy. It's sad how when just the slightest bit of structure falters, whatever induces my meager since of disciplince collapses, I go into total sloth mode. Really, it's pathetic. Am I only doing this because I have an expectant audience?
Danny called this morning, from Fresno; seems he'd been sent back earlier than anticipated, largely because of the company not being sure what to do with him once he'd gotten out here. Sounds familiar. Anyway, we wouldn't have been able to get together last night after all, so I don't feel quite so guilty.
The work crisis was solved easily enough, as I knew it would be. Just had to go digging for a bit of code; indeed, if I'd thought to access my work email from home I probably would have taken care of it from there. Alas.
Hearing them now, I wish I'd listened to more Siouxsie and the Banshees when I was in high school. No, that's not entirely accurate: I wish I'd listened to them at all. I was only marginally aware of their existance. I'd heard some Skinny Puppy by that point, but could never really get into it. At the time I was more into Neil Young, Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Lou Reedstuff of which I'm still very fond, but which isn't quite as central to my life as it once was. It was enough to make me something of an social outcast, though.
One kid in particular seemed disgusted by my fondness for Pink Floyd, even though Momentary Lapse of Reason had been released and they were on a high-profile tour, thus making them a bit more acceptable. Nope. They were old and they sucked, and he expended a considerable amount of energy trying to talk me out of liking them. He wouldn't have even known that I did if he hadn't noticed that I'd taped an ad for their tour on the inside of my binder. If memory serves I'd also had one for Neil Young taped above it, but it didn't seem to offend his sensibilities quite as much. Perhaps as a final attempt to save my soul, in my yearbook he wrote, "Give up Pink Floyd!" I suppose that in his own way he was trying to help me.
Anyway, there were only two people at my high school who could have been considered goth, though I don't recall either of them ever using the term. I'm not saying this is because they considered themselves death-rockers or that they rejected the tyranny of labeling in all its forms; I simply don't remember the term coming up. But I suppose it may have.
The Ex and I, I should point out, weren't those people. We were geeks, certainlywe hung out in the same computer lab during lunch, which is how we got to know each otherand never anywhere close in the mainstream, but hardly goths, either. I'd always figured we were thought of as hippies, given our aesthetics (or arguable lack thereof; my personal style now is light-years beyond whatever it was then). It came as a surprise when I heard a rumor that we were crackheads. I still haven't figured that one out. Apparently whoever perpetuated that particular rumor was unaware of the effect of crack cocaine on the waistband.
One of them was Paul Caetano, whom I met through Jonco. (Indeed, his brother works with Jonco in the State Assembly in Sacramento, which I guess qualifies as respectable.) Pale and scrawny with perpetually big hair, he was heavily into industrial. We used to hide out during our P.E. class, neither of exactly being up to the physical or social challengeour high school was primarily black, and being a pair of very unathletic white boys, we were a bit out of our element.
A few years later he had a show on KFSR, the local college radio station which my brother barefoot had helped start. It had some of the creepiest stuff this since of KPFA's Over the Edge, and I loved it. When I listened to it, anyway, which wasn't often enough. I've been fond of Over the Edge and Negativland since I bought a used tape of JamCon '84 sometime in the mid-eighties. It was another of those revelatory moments when I realized that music/sound didn't have to be linear. Perhaps not surprisingly, for many years I never came across anyone else familiar with Negativland until that night in Lee's bedroom in Bolinas when he pulled out the LP of Escape From Noise and played "Yellow Black and Rectangular." Summer and Terminal were severely unimpressed; I, in my own way, was very much in love.
One time when Paul and I were essentially ditching class, a science teacher asked him about t-shirt he was wearing. It might have been a Skinny Puppy shirt, I don't recall. Anyway, it fascinated the teacher from an anthropological viewpoint, as it showed many figures in what appeared to be an early stage of human evolution. Paul held his own fairly well.
The other, Joseph, I was bit closer to. We were in the same gradePaul was at least a year ahead of meand had more mutual friends. Looking back, I realize that a lot of those friends (the circle that The Ex and I belonged to) turned away from him, but I hung on. Probably because his weirdness was eternally fascinating, and on one level or another, I related.
We spent a lot of time together in our Junior and Senior years, in the classroom of our former English teacher. We were that most loathesome of creatures, the teacher's aid. The beauty part was, it was during the teacher's off-period, so ninety percent of the time we had the place to ourselves. Oh, there was work to do, papers to be graded and all, but for the most part we just hung out and talked. The teacher in question didn't really need us, but he also realized that Joe and I both needed somewhere to be, and he liked us both, so he granted us refuge. With graduation credit, to boot.
Now that I think about it, I believe Joseph had been in his German class. The guy taught both German and English, though I'd only had him for English (learning German seeming pointless in a town with three Spanish teevee channels). Although I never got good grades in English, I always got along well with the teachers. I couldn't diagram a sentence to save my life, but I could compose them well enough, and they respected me on that level. I also connected with this fellow on a pop-culture level; I read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles in his class, and never once went near The Grapes of Wrath. (Still haven't read it, though I know Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads by heart. Is that close enough?) He was very much a leftist, and not afraid to show it. I don't know he got away with it in the late eighties and early nineties; I'd imagine he's had to tone it down since then.
As for Joseph, he was sensitive. Terribly sensitive. How sensitive? Compared to him, I was butch. That's how sensitive. He habitually dressed in black (something I didn't do, partially because my mother was still trying to mandate my appearance), but on him, it didn't seem the slightest bit like an affectation. It was as natural as could be.
In spite of being a natural mope, he was always grinning and seemed a bit loopy. Sounds contradictory, but that's how he was. With a genuine smile he would talk about how he really didn't want to live anymore, and it sounded just as genuine. And no less scary.
Oh, and he worshipped The Smiths. I mentioned he was gay, right?
(No, worshipping The Smiths doesn't make you gay any more than being gay means you worship the Smiths. But, come on. Work with me on this one.)
The question of his sexuality never once crossed my mind back then. I didn't ask, he didn't tell, and I it probably never occurred to either of us to do so. In retrospect, though, there's little doubt in my mind, and not just because of his reverence of Morrissey as a godhead. (It helps, though.) No doubt it would have contributed to him feeling all the more alienated from the culture around him. I had a prety good idea of what was going on in my head at the timeI'd already done plenty of research into every transgender-related topic I could find, though my relationship with The Ex made it easier to assimilate. After all, nobody needed to know about that other business, did they? Of course not.
Confession time: I rewrote one of his stories. This is an unconscionable sin by the standards of most of my friends these days, and certainly they're correct. It's not something I'm proud of, nor is it something I'd do again, and I was 17 at the time, okay? It was for the school's "literary magazine," of which for some reason I was on the editorial staff. (The reason, actually, is simple enough. It was the traditionally put together by the students of the English AP (Advanced Placement) class, of which I was one. Technically you had to have a C-average to be an editor, and I was barely maintaining a D because I couldn't deconstruct Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury to her liking, but she let me remain an editor anyway, and also let me take the AP test so I could skip directly to English III in college. I got a lot of breaks from my English teachers.) It was a given that I would be the editor working with Joe, and they probably wouldn't have put him at all had they not wanted to create the illusion of the magazine being merely them and their friendswhich is really all it was, with a few freaks thrown in to round things out.
Anyway, I didn't completely rewrite it. Just tightened it up a bit, that's all. Threw in a few things, took a few others out. You know. Constructive stuff. Nothing he'd get too upset about, I reckoned.
Ahem. I was wrong, and he let me know. Suffice it say I promise to never do it again.
sometime after midnight
Bolinas was the location of a dream again, at least the latter part, of the dream, the time focuing on the more xenophobic aspects of the town. I was cornered by somewhat stereotypical backwoods rednecks, and was able to get away by mentioning Burnout's namein this reality, he lived there. I realized that the only way to get to him was to cross through this bad place, and that it had always been like this, and as such I'd best never try again because they might not be so kind. It ceased to feel like such a welcoming place anymore. Sooner or later, whatever I want to call home turns on me.
Ugh. Day two. Hopefully also the last day.
I must be less ill than yesterday, since I'm not sleeping as much. As a result, I'm awake with no idea what to do with myself. Not exactly an improvement.
Either way, I'm going back tomorrow. Brian actually called me at home earlier today, the first time that particular phenomenon has occurred. He wasn't angry or as suspicious as Maddy's boss tends to be when she misses workindeed, he sounded genuinely concernedbut it's also clear that enough pieces of the sky have fallen in my absence to necessitate my speedy return. I'm still sweaty and uncomfortable, and there's no telling how I'll feel tomorrow, but I guess it doesn't matter.
Christ, but I'm a whiner at times.
My biggest regret is having missed seeing Danny. He emailed me yesterday and I responded, but never heard back. I hope he saw the mail. I could have called, but didn't. I prefer writing. This isn't always a good thing.
What can make me feel even guiltier than usual about missing a day of work? When it's the second day in the week I've missed. Okay, strictly speaking Monday didn't count because it was Labor Day, but I still feel like a sloth for not going today.
Can't do it, though. I know the way my body works, and the first day of being sick is always the worst. The fever and brain-fuzziness as the body smokes out the bad things. I'm still trying my best to do the telecommute thang, but I need to have my bed nearby in which to collapse if necessary.
Even though I knew as soon as I woke up that I wouldn't be going to work, I still showered just in case. You never know, the shower might get my energy level up. It didn't, but it allowed me to focus and figure out how many plans would be thrown off by me staying home today. Besides actual work, Danny and I were going to be having dinner tonight. Hopefully he can make it tomorrow night. Lord knows I'd feel even more guilty about cancelling on him than I would for simply missing work.
After I showered I collapsed back into bed and slept for a little while. I dreamt that my mother had found that I wasn't going to work (she'd become an admin there, horror of horrors) and was upset with me about it. I think my subconscious is taking advantage of the slightly raised temperature; what's a fever without a fever dream, after all?
I've slept for most of the day. By my standards, that's proof something's wrong.
There doesn't seem to have been any damage (i.e. tanning) from our unusually long exposure to sunlight this weekend. Indeed, Madeline and I probably did more walking around in the sun this weekend than we have all year long. Which is good because we both needed the exercise, especially considering how we ate, and bad because it goes to show that we just don't walk enough as it is.
I've yet to figure out why, when the sun shines, it seems brighter in the Bay Area than in the middle of the friggin' Nevada desert. The light wasn't nearly as obnoxious there as it is here. Go figure.
At least we had a better go of it weather-wise than our fellow travellers at Burning Man. Before the Goldthwait/Chong show at the Top of the Riv (which is just that, at the top of the Riviera), we could see fireworks off in the distance. We're thinking it might have been the fireworks set off during the actual burning of the man, but we're not sure. If so, it's about as close as we cared to get.
Danny is in town. We just spoke on the phone, and are planning on getting together Wednesday or Thursday night. This should be interesting. If nothing else, it'll give me the impetus I've been lacking lately to get into full battle gear. Maybe it's just that I'd gotten out of the habit over the last couple months as I've been getting zapped, and now that I'm able to, inertia has taken hold. This weekend I didn't want to risk getting made up because of the heat and the fact of where I was. Las Vegas is only so tolerant of freaks, so it's best not to push it.
(We were still clocked, though. Madeline and I were walking down the Strip, minding our own damn business, and we passed a guy handing out brochures. No biggie, they're all over the place. As soon as he spotted us, he started his spiel: "Free buffet! Free slots! Free show!" The moment I hear the word "free" I tend to tune out anyway, and as a general rule I hate having ads forced on me. So we kept walking. What's worse than a solicitor? A solicitor who takes it personally when you don't allow yourself to be solicited. "Hey!" he shouted as we walked by. "Come back! Marilyn Manson is up there!" Nice try, buddy, nice try.)
(Later that same morning, we were in the buffet at Circus Circus, getting well more than our RDA of sugar and saturated fat. A member of the janitorial staff was eyeing us oddly; nothing new there. To make a long story short, it turns out she thought Madeline worked upstairs as a trapeze artist. I, for one, would take that as a compliment. I've never cared for circuses, but I respect circus folk. Go figure.)
I have no idea how long this period is going to last, though. I'll be damned if the hair around my mouth isn't coming in full force. There's a temptation to call Phil and see if I can't reschedule my appointment for next Monday, and instruct him (firmly) to do my goatee area first. Regardless of how much EMLA he has, or how much he's afraid of hurting me. I don't care for the idea of being in Dana's wedding like this.
Aaargh. As the borgification of the web continues, Yahoo! has bought out the clunky, yet...well, charmingly clunky WebRing system, and as a result the default background color for the webring home page is white. The kind the makes me want to screech and claw my eyeballs out. Okay, it's not that bad, but it still sucks. The instructions for "transitioning" (loaded word, guys) from the old system to the new one are just confusing enough to be useless, so I guess it's stuck that way for a while. Wouldn't be surprised if you can't even customize the colors anymore. Bastards.
sometime after midnight
Remember, apple cider vinegar from Safeway is "ideal for food!" Even if, like me, you primarily use it for gargling at 3am to combat a sore throat. I'll be eternally grateful to Brigid for that trick.
During the first earthquake in the Bay Area since Maddy's lived here, we just happen to be 400 miles away. Figures. As near as we can tell, while it happened we were at the Hilton in the "Spacequest Casino" adjacent to Star Trek: The Experience. (The attraction itself had long since closed, but the surrounding casino is still very cool, done in a quasi-Trek style. And you can't go wrong with a huge model of the Enterprise habing overhead.) I was playing video poker and drinking a margarita, the first I've had in years and the only one I had on this trip. Maybe that's why the earth shook; certain things are simply not meant to be.
Things learned this weekend.
As though Madeline's delayful trip west a year ago today wasn't warning enough about travelling on this particular holiday, sfgate is now running their standard scary article about how much it's going to suck trying to fly. The really icky part is the speculation that the long-term parking might fill up by this afternoon. We'll be using the long-term parking rather than the Super Shuttle mainly because of the distance involved, and the fact that Maddy's boss has been an incorrigible prick about the notion of letting her leave early on the Friday before a three-day weekend; indeed, he's been holding her recent back troubles and illnesses against her. For example, he'll only let her leave early the day of Dana's wedding if she doesn't miss any days between now and then. So, at a time when it seems half the company is down the the Mongolian Death Flu, she has to remain perfectly healthy or else she might not be able to make it to the wedding on time. Oh, yeah, that's perfectly fair. As a result, I'm not holding my breath on him letting her go any earlier than 4:30pm today; it's common for the company CEO to announce on these days that people can leave in the early afternoon, but a boss with an axe to grind can supercede that...
Oh well. Que sera and all that. We'll be able to park or not, we'll catch our flight or not, it'll be delayed or not. Ain't much I can do about any of it.
It's raining outside, at long last. Not necessarily the best thing when you're about to travel, but it's beautiful nonetheless. At least if we end up having to stay in town (the long-term parking being full, for example), the weather will be nice. Makes me wish I had some hallucinogens to enhance the experiencein either locationbut no such luck.
Which for some reason reminds me, Lee was in my dreams against last night. The poor little guy, he really deserves better than to be whatever symbol it is my subconscious wants to make him. In any event, I'll probably next see him at Dana's wedding. He'd once expressed interest in getting me into a dress similar to Jennifer Connelly's in Labyrinth. That didn't happen, but I'd daresay this'll be the next best thing, even if it did take a year and half.
Only an hour and twenty minutes late? In a lot of ways, that's no so bad.
Except that's just to Los Angeles. According to the current estimates, we'll arrive there at 10:23pm. Problem is, the connecting flight is still scheduled to leave at 10:00pm. This may be problematic.
So I'm going to be away from my computer, or any computer, until Sunday evening.
This'll be the first time that's happened in a couple years. And certainly since I've been doing this silly diary; even in Fresno or Kansas, I had internet access. I've even updated my journal from Lee's computer in Bolinas. Not tomorrow, though. I'll be on vacation, damnit. No email, no journal, none of that stuff. (Unless I can get ten minutes with a telnet window, but I don't see that happening.) I'm sure I can handle it. After all, I have my Palm, right?
Gotta pick up Maddy and head out.
The start of a very long weekend...