Monday, November 24, 2003
I'm off to NY for the rest of the week. Updates when possible. In the meantime, I interviewed fellow Ramapo High School victim Andrea over at Voices from the Balcony, so feel free to check that out.

Friday, November 21, 2003
Ooooh pretty. I got my digital camera this week. It's a slammin' 5 megapixel Canon G5. Yes, my computer is also a G5. I like to keep things simple. Anyway, I haven't had much time yet to figure out all the cool features, but I did snap a few pics here and there to test it out, and holy crap, it takes good pictures. Here's one I shot off the parking ramp where I work. Unfortunately, I had to knock the size down to make it web-friendly, which kind of defeats the purpose of the massive resolution photos it can take, but you get the idea.

Also, if you're in the market for anything digital this season, check out The prices are way better than any others I've seen, and are usually at least 30% below retail. Like, the camera I got retails for $799, but I got it for almost $300 less than that. Unless you're a sucker and/or really enjoy the feeling that you've just been ripped off (and/or if you don't realize that you can buy stuff on the internet at substantial savings -- go ahead, it's safe to use your credit card), stay away from Circuit City, Best Buy, and other stores like that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
This afternoon I went to the coffee shop across the street from where I work to get a caffeine fix, and I met a woman with a pet chicken. (You read that right.) Apparently, this woman found this chicken right after it hatched, and there were kittens watching it and probably getting ready to eat it. The chicken then imprinted on her and now thinks that she is its mother. So it was kind of funny to see this chicken poking around the coffee shop. It responded to its name (the chicken's name is Liberty), and it sat on the woman's shoulder and let me pet it, and generally acted like a cat. And this woman gets lots of eggs, which she says are way better than anything you can get in the store. Except, the woman told me, you can't paper train a chicken, so it leaves little chicken turds all over the place. Which is too bad, because for a minute there I was thinking, a chicken would be a cool pet.

Sunday, November 16, 2003
Currently feeling the crunch to get my project done, wanting to just sleep all day, and looking forward to going home in a week. Things planned for this NY trip: a short ride on a small jet rather than 11 hours on the interstate, good dinners out, the Rosenquist exhibit at the Guggenheim, a big fun Marshall Crenshaw show downtown, "Avenue Q" (aka "Yes You Can Have Puppets on Stage and Charge $100 a Ticket Because That is What We Do on Broadway"), seeing family and friends, my aunt's fantastic but narcolepsy-inducing Thanksgiving feast, lots of shopping, and birthday presents! Lots to look forward to and so much to do before it all happens.

Thursday, November 13, 2003
So my latest fascination is raw food. Not raw food as in sushi, although I have plenty of fascination with sushi and eat it every chance I get. I'm talking about the whole raw food movement, also called living food. Raw foodists, as the name implies, eat only food that hasn't been cooked or altered with heat. According to raw food doctrines, heating food beyond 116 degrees farenheit will kill all active enzymes present in the food, and it's these enzymes that provide health benefits. What kind of benefits? I'm not really sure, but it seems to give you more energy, make you more virile, and there is also evidence that it suppresses cancer.

But while I'm fascinated with raw food, I'm not sure I could ever give up cooked food completely. For one, everything raw is cold (or colder thatn 116 degrees), and I really like hot soup in the winter. Somehow, gazpacho in a blizzard isn't as appealing. And for another, I like to cook. There's no cooking involved in raw food (they call the preparation "uncooking"). And sometimes, frankly, I just want some bread. All the wheatgrass juice in the world isn't going to change that. (Well, maybe it will. I haven't exactly tried the big W juice yet.)

Still, the more I've been reading about this whole raw food thing, the more I'm intrigued. One thing I have done in the past week or two is increase my consumption of raw carrots -- I went from almost none to about three pounds a week. (And you know, those little shaped "baby" carrots don't taste as good as regular dirty old carrots that you have to peel.) I figure carrots are better than potato chips. I'm also trying to eat as many foods raw as I can, which means big salads instead of cooked vegetables with dinner, and lots of fruit. I am also considering buying some things to help me eat more raw stuff. Like a juicer, for instance, even though that freaky old guy with the big white eyebrows who hawks juicers in the informercials kind of scares me and has put me off juicers. I'm also thinking about a dehydrator, because dehydrating food doesn't cook it, it just takes the water out. And maybe one day I can get to spend a week or two at the big fancy Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico, where everything is raw! I'm not big on the yoga part, but it's on the beach, so I can deal. Until then, there's an affiliate about 40 miles from here that I am considering visiting. Just for kicks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Not a lot has been happening lately. I don't know if it's the weather, or if I haven't been paying attention, or if I've been concentrating on work and nothing else, or what, but lately every day is just like the day before. It kind of feels like something big is going to happen, but I'm not sure what, and I'm not exactly overwhelmed with anticipation. Maybe tomorrow will be different.

Monday, November 10, 2003
Bad news today: I went for dinner at my favorite hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant, and it was gutted and locked and had a big "For Lease" sign on the front window! I guess I knew it was coming, because the nice Korean lady who owned the place had been saying for almost a year that she was going to close soon. But every time I would go back, it would be open, and I would ask her when she was going to close the restaurant, and she would always smile and say, "Not yet." I hope an equally nice Korean lady who makes good spicy tofu soup for around six bucks leases the place.

Last night was cool: I saw Stomp at the local college auditorium. Some of my friends were making fun of me for going, and were like, oh, you can give me thirty bucks and I'll bang on some trashcans for you, but I was like whatever, I do what I want. I had always wanted to see it, and although it was pretty unconventional as far as dance goes, it was still really good. The trashcans was only the last ten minutes, and frankly, it was my least favorite part; I walked out with a ringing headache because of it. But the rest of it was such a neat exploration of life rhythms. They did this one segment in the dark with a bunch of Zippos, and it was one of those moments where you just sit and watch and wonder why all those times you borrowed Zippos from friends and thought they were cool, you didn't think to flick and close them on beat, cut the lights out, and put it on stage. Anyway, I am glad I ignored my mocking friends and went. I'd even see it again, but I'd probably bring earplugs.

Friday, November 7, 2003
Tomorrow is the local holiday parade in town. You'd think that it would be the Halloween and Thanksgiving parade, but no, it's the Christmas parade. They just call it a holiday parade so as not to offend the nine of us in town who don't celebrate Christmas. Honestly, I think they should just call it the Christmas parade, hold it in December, and stop trying to confuse and appease everyone.

The other thing I don't like about this parade is that it completely ties up all of downtown. That wouldn't be so bad if it were just during the parade, but it ties up downtown for more or less the entire day. This is because most people around here think that downtown is dangerous and therefore live in the suburbs. (Never mind the fact that everyone I know who has had their car broken into has had it happen in the suburbs.) These people hate downtown. Sometimes when I tell people who live in the suburbs that I live downtown, they are genuinely frightened for me, or they have some concern that I'm living far below my means, or something like that.

Anyway, all of these people will make their one yearly trip downtown tomorrow. They don't know which streets are one way and so they drive in whatever direction they want. They park anywhere they want, legally or illegally. They drive slowly, though I'm not sure why. It's either because they're here so infrequently that they want to see everything, or it's because they're a little scared and so they're looking in all directions to make sure no one's going to car jack them. Then there's the parade, which blocks off half of the streets. And then when it's over, all of these people have to figure out how to get back to their safe little suburbs, which means more driving the wrong way down one-way streets.

I don't have any inherent dislike for these people, but it bothers me that all year long, they put down where I live, but when there's a stupid parade at the wrong time of year, they all flock down here and make getting around more difficult for me.

Thursday, November 6, 2003
The big news in town today is that the guy from the Righteous Brothers died just before a performance at the local university. The hotel he died in is just down the street from my house and from where I work (I live and work in the "downtown" area, which is painfully small), so we saw a few local news vans headed to the hotel to tell the story live on the tee-vee.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003
I never mentioned that I saw Spellbound a few weeks ago, and it was pretty good, but it kind of depresses me that the whole thing was shot on a consumer camcorder (okay, a prosumer camcorder) exactly like the ten we have at work. Still, it's a good and funny look at some really weird kids, even though I found it really sad that the only thing some of their parents were living for was the idea that their kid might be the National Spelling Bee champ. I also thought it was kind of interesting that in school, most of these kids were more interested in math than they were in English, although in a way that doesn't surprise me, since spelling is a lot like math in that there are right answers and wrong answers and no in-between.

Anyway, it was pretty good and you should catch it where you can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003
Today was probably the most uneventful election day ever. I got to my polling place at around 7:20 this morning, expecting to have to decode a few badly-written propositions and read names of judges and state representatives that I've never seen before. Instead, I got a list of nine candidates for our local city commission, and I could vote for as many as, but no more than, seven. And that was it. I voted for five: the current mayor, who knows me and actually says hi when I see him (it's a small town), the local Green Party leader (an incumbent), a candidate who's my age and occasionally hangs out at my favorite local bar (also an incumbent), a woman who has no prayer of winning a seat but is kind of environmental and unconventional as far as local politicians go, and the only Latino candidate, about whom I know nothing but seemed really cool when I saw him on the local candidates' forum on cable access. The whole thing took about fifteen seconds.

Cool license plate that I saw today: 4KLEMPT.

Sunday, November 2, 2003
As part of my Halloween costume, I used a pack of press-on nails. I had never used press-on nails before, and when I opened the pack, I was surprised to find 12 nails instead of 10. I immediately assumed that the extra nails were in case one or two got dropped or lost, but then I started thinking, what if the press-on nail manufacturer was being sympathetic to people who are polydactyl? (You know...people who have six fingers on each hand.) Then I started wondering if people who are polydactyl really want to draw so much attention to their hands. Then I realized that they were just press-on nails and I shouldn't extrapolate all kinds of unrelated scenarios just because there were a few extra nails in the package.

Switching topics, I went to a baby shower today. I'm not a big fan of showers in general -- I don't like the stupid shower games (ladies, you know what I'm talking about), and most of the time it's an uncomfortable lunch with a lot of women I don't know -- but there were a lot of cool baby gifts, which got me thinking: Why aren't some baby items adjusted for use by adults? Like those bath towels with the built-in hood, for example. I would really like one of those in my size! It makes sense, since so much heat escapes out of the head and I'm usually freezing when I get out of the shower. And those heat-sensitive spoons that change color if the food is too hot -- I could have spared my tongue from being scorched many times if I had a spoon to tell me that my soup was too damn hot. But they only make these spoons in teeny little baby sizes, and they're not really spoons as much as they are little shovels. I think next time I go to Target (which, I learned today, can be called Targhetto if it's in a bad neighborhood), I will scope out the baby section for more ideas.

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