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The Literary Exhibitionist
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07072007-41


-- MMCMXXXVI --


I guess you could say the bulk of my evening last night got sucked up in tedious housekeeping and/or errands: I left work about five minutes early, which actually made all the difference in my making great time on buses, first southeast to Westlake Station downtown, where I barely caught a super-crowded #41 bus in the tunnel up to Northgate Mall. Being rush hour at the end of the day, the bus was able to take the express lanes on the freeway, so the most gridlock we really had to deal with was just getting out of the tunnel itself.

I had to spend entirely too much time on nothing more than walking to LensCrafters in that sprawling Northgate Mall. This was partly my fault as I thought I remembered it being on the west side of the mall, but it's on the east side. And, super annoyingly, you can't access LensCrafters from inside the mall; they only have an outside entrance. So I had to cut across the middle of the mall through both Nordstrom and Macy's (which are across from each other) and then backtrack slightly. Once there, though, I got my year's supply of contact lenses in a matter of moments. Insurance had already paid for them so all I had to do was grab them and go.

But then I just barely missed the #41 on the way back, having to wait another 10 minutes for the next one. And the ride back downtown was a much different story -- the bus avoided the freeway altogether, since the express lanes were outbound and the regular freeway was likely gridlocked. We moved faster on regular streets but even then it was 6:45 by the time I got off the bus at Convention Place Station. I had gotten on the bus at the Northgate Transit Center at 6:09, I think it was.

I just walked home from Convention Place. Singing along to Cher while walking through Capitol Hill seemed like a suitably middle-aged-gay thing to do on a warm Thursday evening. I had a scheduled Apple Support call at 7:00, and my phone rang at exactly that time when I was maybe one block from home. It took a few prompts before I got to a live person, which happened when I was in the lobby of my building.

I was then on the phone for 2 hours and 27 minutes. (I didn't actually track it; I just looked at the time stamp under "recent" in the phone app.) It was insane. The first woman was sort of thrown for a loop by my issue (playlists randomly disappearing on my iPhone), and after only a few minutes bumped me up to a senior agent or whatever the phrase was -- senior something.

We're pretty sure we've got the problem of disappearing playlists solved: I had "Show Apple Music" turned on on my phone even though I don't have an Apple Music membership; apparently I need that turned off -- and on all of my devices. Done.

But then, I still had weird syncing issues. The guy did "screen sharing," which is this honestly kind of creepy thing where he can see the entirety of my desktop screen -- he can't actually mess with anything or click on anything, but he had this red arrow that he floated around my screen to tell me what to do where. And when we synced to my phone and saw that although I had Madonna as an artist marked to sync -- meaning I want all Madonna's music to go to my phone -- and any Madonna track not already in a playlist was not syncing, he was mystified. He tried very, very hard to figure out how to make it work, but by the time it was nearly 9:30 I had just had enough. I needed to fucking fix myself dinner!

But, he still has an open ticket and a case number and phone number for me to call back and everything, if I have time today (I'm not sure if I will), so there's that.

Besides, with the syncing clearly giving preference to playlists, I finally came up with a workaround this morning: I just created an "All Madonna" playlist, dumped every single Madonna track in there, synced again, and now it works! Not only is the "All Madonna" playlist on my phone, but the phone still has all those tracks organized by album as well. I just had to have them all put into a playlist for it to happen, which is insanely stupid but whatever, I made it work.

Now if I can just get them to figure out how to make iTunes sync completely to my iPod classic -- always my preferred music device anyway, since that actually has the memory capacity for my entire music library and my phone does not -- which it has not done now for months. I should try again tonight though just to see if any of last night's tweaking in iTunes made any difference. I doubt it but it's still worth checking.

I actually did the same thing with Stevie Nicks when syncing this morning which finally allowed me to listen to her full Rock a Little album (from 1985, long ago ripped from a CD -- part of the issue on a lot of my albums). I finished listening to that while riding my bike to work this morning.

-- MMCMXXXVI --


04022016-05


-- MMCMXXXVI --


So anyway, that literally left me with no time for anything else last night, besides quickly making and eating a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich. I'm behind on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, dammit! I didn't even finish my soda I had with dinner until I was literally getting into bed.

I didn't get any FaceTime with Shobhit because he's working the Los Angeles Food & Wine festival, both last night and tonight. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with my evening tonight; I'd really like to go watch the 2005 film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but haven't found anyone to go with. I'm not sure why I care about going to that alone when I go to theatres alone more often than not but for some reason I do. Outdoor movies just seem more of a thing you do with other people, especially given how easy it is to find those movies to watch at home. Otherwise I'll probably be spending more time on the phone with Apple. I'm leaning toward the latter; I've got stuff planned with three different friends already over the course of both tomorrow and Sunday. I could use an evening with no commitments outside the home.

-- MMCMXXXVI --


Two days in a row, I've been able to post my entry from the web on my work computer! I still don't trust that it will last, but I'm enjoying it while it does.

What else? I just found a huge box stashed with Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches in the Merchandising freezer. So it's all downhill from here.

-- MMCMXXXVI --


07222016-37

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positive energy please

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08202016-81


-- MMCMXXXV --


I guess it has to be a quickie today! I've got, like, 12 minutes to write this entry. I mean theoretically. I could write for longer and no one would give a shit.

I can't think of much to tell you about today anyway. Just look at the weird pictures, okay?

Oh! There is this: I just discovered today that LiveJournal is downloaded on my work computer again! What the hell? I got so used to the website being blocked at work and sending my entries in via email that I never thought to check here at the new office location, in the middle of Week Four. I wonder how long this will last? I feel like IT must have missed some detail in the move, and/or that I'm getting away with something. I also don't expect it to last. On the upside, it's certainly nice being able to post this entry the old fashioned way. Too bad I don't have anything interesting to tell you about today.

-- MMCMXXXV --


08202016-87


-- MMCMXXXV --


I mean, I suppose there's this: I went to see Little Men at Sundance Cinemas with Laney after work yesterday. (It was so easy to get that link this time! Usually I have to grab it from my phone and then email it to myself.) I never would have even heard of this movie without Laney suggesting we go see it; she read a very positive review in the New York Times and it had piqued her interest -- and then mine.

I rode my bike there, in the U District, from the office down here on Elliott Avenue. Google Maps said it would take me 37 minutes and it took me closer to 40. Traffic lights are a pain in the ass in South Lake Union, even for cyclists. I guess a three-minute difference isn't so bad though. That theatre is literally three blocks from the old office location. Not so convenient anymore.

I put my bike on the front rack and rode the bus back to Capitol Hill with Laney so we could visit and talk about the movie. Then I rode from Broadway up to 15th and home -- going up that hill is way easier when I haven't ridden all the way up from the U District first!

Anyway, the movie was really good and I highly recommend it.

-- MMCMXXXV --


I took a Pronto bike to work this morning. I thought about busing, for the first time, and that's how I found out the #8 only leaves 20 minutes apart from 15th and John, one at around 6:44 -- right when I was leaving the condo, so no dice -- and the next at 7:04. When I start having to do buses to work on cold and wet mornings the #8 is going to be a real pain in the ass. I'll have to do some new trial and error with buses and see if I get there at a better time by taking a bus down Pine and transferring downtown instead. I may just rely on that 7:04 bus, which would still get me here by 7:30, so long as it's actually on time. In the morning it should be. After work it will be much less reliable.

But anyway, I rode the Pronto bike because I do have to bus out of here after work today -- to go up to LensCrafters and pick up my new contact lenses. And hopefully get back home in time for a call from Apple Customer Care because my stupid fucking phone keeps wiping out my play lists. Their website now makes it impossible just to set up a Genius Bar appointment and forced me to send in an email two days ago; I got a nonsensical response yesterday, suggesting I turn on my iCloud Music Library -- which I can't do because I am not an Apple Music Member, because I tried that once and it completely fucked up all the customizations I had made in iTunes and duplicated playlists a bunch of times and my iTunes program has yet to recover from all that bullshit. But Apple Music member or not, my fucking phone should not be randomly having its music content disappearing, unable to be fixed until I sync to iTunes again -- which I can't do when I'm at work or away on fucking several-day trip! (This happened most recently while I was in L.A.)

I want to keep loving Apple products, I really do. But they keep fucking up my music when I have literally done nothing. It's driving me insane. So they better fucking have a solution on the phone tonight.

Uh oh, it's 12:32, time to get back to work!

-- MMCMXXXV --


08202016-89

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positive energy please

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Los Angeles, August 2016

08232016-05


As always, click any of the photos in this entry to be taken to the respective full photo sets. Captions are sparse as of yet, but arguably still adequate -- I did add them to the photos I used for the email photo digest sent out to coworkers, friends and family this morning; and also the requisite link-captions to the photos already posted elsewhere on social media over the weekend. So that doesn't cover all the photos but it does cover all the basics of the weekend trip to L.A. and Palm Springs.

The above set is kind of just a token set for the general Los Angeles visit; it's got all of 19 shots in it -- the least amount since the Oct/Nov 2014 set of the same amount, when the bulk of the photos for that trip were used for Shobhit's birthday day trip to Catalina Island and for the WeHo Halloween Carnaval. This time the bulk of the photos were used for Universal Studios and Palm Springs. That said, this does tie with the Oct/Nov 2014 set for the smallest number of photos in an L.A. photo set, although a few others came in at 20 or 21 shots under similar circumstances (separated photo sets from the same trip taking up the bulk of the shots).

Anyway! Of this L.A. trip overall, I will tell you this much: I finally got closure regarding the bullshit that occurred over the Fourth of July Weekend trip. The explanation was a genuine surprise to me, something several people actually kind of guessed but I had been sure was not the case (and I was wrong), but at the very least was far from the worst it could have been, although I always knew that wasn't it anyway. It kind of threw me for a loop, but it's also something I can live with and we're moving on and it appears to be over for sure. At least now I know for sure Shobhit wasn't going insane as I had genuinely feared.

The one last thing about the L.A.-general photo set is that it includes one photo of Shobhit and me with Shobhit's roommate, Troy. (I almost hyperlinked to that one above but decided it best to keep it one step removed from my journal and buried in my Flickr set -- he has a pretty minimal web presence.) With Shobhit so close to deciding to move back home to Seattle, and having lived with Troy for five years as of September, I guess Troy was getting a little sentimental, and he asked to get a picture with us. He even set up his iPad on a large tripod to use the timer and take the shot. That was after we returned from Palm Springs on Monday night, and Shobhit made us all a weird but surprisingly tasty cocktail.



Universal Studios Hollywood 2016: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

08202016-29


This, naturally, used up most of the photos I took on this trip: 88 shots at Universal Studios, 60 of them in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section alone. And we were only in the park about four and a half hours -- we got there half an hour after they opened at 9 a.m., getting the best parking we've ever managed; spent about three hours on the Harry Potter section; and left the park to go back home at around 2:00. I would have loved to wander around the park for a few more hours, but Shobhit has had this persistent cold and cough and wanted to go home and rest for a bit before he went to a cater waiting gig he worked for six hours that evening.

But then we stayed another couple of hours at the Universal City Walk mall just outside the park, because we semi-spontaneously decided to go see Kubo and the Two Strings, which has been getting nearly universal critical acclaim. That had sways both of our interests in it, and although we both agreed the story was fairly average, the stop-motion animation was stunning, possibly the best I have ever seen. So that movie got out around 4:30 -- we caught a 2:20 showing -- and then we had just a couple of hours at home to rest before he went on to his gig at 7:00, and I wrote my movie review while he was out. I also went and got myself an ice cream cone.



Palm Springs 2016

08212016-13


Another semi-spontaneous thing, or at least we didn't decide until I brought it up to Shobhit directly once we got home on Friday night: if Shobhit does move home next month, then I hoped I could take one last trip out to visit Faith in Palm Springs with him this weekend. Since Shobhit had the work gig on Saturday night, that's how we decided we would do Universal Studios on Saturday, and he called her Friday night to ask if we could come out to stay the night on Sunday. We even considered staying two nights and just driving straight to LAX from there on Tuesday, but then decided that would be cutting it too close. We didn't drive home until Monday evening, so even though it was just one night, it felt like a two-day visit. We even all three of us went to see Hell or High Water in Rancho Mirage Monday afternoon -- although I didn't get a chance to write the review to that one until much later after we got back to L.A. that night. That movie was excellent, though, one of the best I've seen so far this year.

The thing I wasn't really thinking about with Palm Springs was the heat. I was actually escaping a weekend heat wave, with temperatures expected to break 90°, in Seattle by going to L.A. -- we had dinner at a Mexican place Friday night on Sunset Boulevard (a pretty impressive place called Tocaya Organica, I'll totally eat there again) where we sat in open air seating and it was actually chilly. But in Palm Springs the lows were in the mid-seventies and the highs each day reached 100° and slightly higher. Faith kept scoffing at my complaints about the heat: "This is the coolest day we've had this summer!" Jesus Christ. Those people are all insane. I mean, I know logically it's just about acclimation, but still.

Otherwise, Palm Springs was as relaxing and lovely as usual -- especially when indoors with air conditioning. We played Yahtzee as always, hence the above photo I am seriously considering getting framed (it's the most quintessential photo of Shobhit and Faith together ever -- also note he finally cut his hair short again). And Shobhit cooked us a delicious Indian dinner on Sunday evening, when I also drank a lot. It's what I do. I like to think of it as a hobby.

* * * * *


And that brings us to today, and I'll just tell you briefly that I just had lunch with Karen at Café Artemis down the street. It was the third time I've eaten there in as many weeks and the second time there with Karen. The sign on the door is changed from what it said last week, when they said they were just closing at the end of the month due to the ending of their lease. Now it says they are temporarily closing and then re-opening in September under new management. The lady working the register said it will all be new -- new menu, new staff, new everything. Except maybe the restaurant name? Weird. I hope it's still as good (well, serviceable) and reasonably priced. Karen and I will have to find somewhere else to eat when we next have lunch but perhaps the time after that we will be able to return.

In any case, between Tristen's visit and this past weekend trip to L.A. -- both of which happened since Karen and I last saw each other -- we had a lot to catch up on. We did a lot of compare and contrast between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and the one she recently went to in Orlando. But now I really need to get some work done; I didn't get nearly enough done this morning and the week is now officially more than half over!
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3 transmissions complete or positive energy please

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positive energy please

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07222016-47


-- MMCMXXXIV --


Not much to tell about last night, except that I worked until around 5:30, which is very unusual for me, but I realized right at 5:00 that I forgot to get the October TPR contracts submitted via email (rather than the Vendor Portal -- I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!) saved so IT could load them in time for them to be optimized in PriceStrat (still with me??) today -- and in the end I was still too late and I'll still have to key those retails manually later so I worked an extra half hour for nothing. Whatever!

Then I rode my bike home and I made a light dinner and I watched the series pilot of Shameless, something my roommate has been trying to convince me to watch for months. And I am totally in and look forward to watching more. But after that I needed to pack.

I'm bringing the large suitcase even though what I packed barely fills half the space in it, at Shobhit's request, so he can send me back with stuff when I return home on Tuesday. Right now it's looking like his move back home may happen next month -- but then, I said exactly that last month, and see where we are. I feel like it's kind of a day-at-a-time thing right now when it comes to what the expectations are.

Shobhit wants me to bring a light blanket though, because he threw out the comforter he bought. He thinks the weird bug bites he got may have come from some kind of bug living in that comforter. Where the fuck did he buy it, I wonder? I should ask him.

-- MMCMXXXIV --


07222016-36


-- MMCMXXXIV --


I'm posting later than usual today because we just had our first all-office staff meeting in our new space today, and of course it was great. Much more room than we used to have, and that amazing view to boot. And stunningly delicious PCC deli food offered, very meat-heavy because of its focus on new stuff being offered at the new Bothell store but still plenty for me. The dessert is this new thing called a "crownie" -- a combined cookie and brownie with nuts and a caramel drizzle on top. Seriously it was so fucking delicious I practically had an out of body experience. They were cut for servings in halves, but I had a second half on the way back to my desk after the meeting was over. Oh my god it was so good!

But so was everything else I ate. Even a "mashed cauliflower" dish -- and I hate cauliflower! But this was nearly as good as mashed potatoes. I was very impressed.

We got lots of updates, a lot of it having to do with how well the Bothell opening went and also just general comments and questions and feedback about this new office space, which was where I contributed most to the conversation. I just can't say enough good things about working here. But I'm leaving in not much more than an hour so I can catch a flight to L.A. this evening so I need to post this and try to get a least a little more work done today.

-- MMCMXXXIV --


07052016-11

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positive energy please

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06122016-16


-- MMCMXXXIII --


Claudia and I went and had drinks after work yesterday. We'd had it planned for two or three weeks but hadn't decided on a place; I looked up "happy hour" on Yelp and happened upon an amusingly titled place called Some Random Bar, down on 1st and Vine. So, when she got off work at 5:20, we walked our bikes down there together.

The place was a bit more polished than either of us quite expected -- we thought with a name like that it might be a little more gritty. But then, Belltown has been a happening neighborhood for several years now so it makes sense that genuinely divey places are less prevalent. I really wanted to get a photo of us in front of the sign, but its font was too fancy and its white lettering on the windows made it too hard to read. I never even got a picture at all or checked in or anything.

But we had a nice time hanging out, catching up, talking mostly about relationships, actually. I had the vegetarian nachos, which weren't bad, and their SRB Piña Colada -- twice! -- and it was seriously one of the best piña coladas I have ever had. Okay, two of the best. I had two. The waitress told us about how she went to a resort in Mexico once and ordered a piña
colada and they just gave her milk and rum, not even frozen. What the shit? She said it was very strange to be in Mexico but the best piña colada she had was in Seattle.

I rode my bike the rest of the way home from there, which, closer to 7 p.m., is a hell of a lot easier to do through downtown streets than between 5:00 and 5:30 like I usually do. I had no dinner to make since I had the nachos (and a few of the fries Claudia ordered), but I watched the finale of Stranger Things, which I quite liked. I'm on board with the criticisms of how derivative it is, but it's also clearly deliberately so -- and within that framework, the show makers did a pretty great job. I wouldn't call it a classic but I really liked it, found it a very satisfying show, and do look forward to season two, in spite of the couple of annoying jump-scares. I hate that shit.

-- MMCMXXXIII --


06132016-075


-- MMCMXXXIII --


So this is interesting: a protest art collective project apparently unveiled nationwide called The Emperor Has No Balls has included Seattle -- Capitol Hill, specifically -- in its several cities unveiling a grotesque, naked statue of Donald Trump. He has a tiny penis and literally has no balls.

When I first saw references to it on Twitter, I thought it was just a Capitol Hill thing in Seattle, and I was rather amused by it. But I also follow the LAist Twitter feed, and that was how I saw that there is one in Los Feliz (that headline originally said Hollywood; I guess they changed it). I figured that must mean they are in several cities across the country, which I confirmed with a quick Google search. (A quick look at WeHo Daily's Twitter timeline reveals the one in Manhattan has already been removed.)

At this point, with the expectation that all of these will get removed sooner than later, I'm dying to find out if the Capitol Hill one will still be there after I get off work today. There's actually
a live feed of it on Facebook right now -- showing rotating small crowds of people approaching for photos -- and I have no idea how long that link will last. You can be I'll get a photo myself if it's still there this evening. The feed shows it's at 11th and Pike, which is all of one block off of my bike route home from work, literally four and a half blocks from where I live.

Indeed, of all the locations across the country where these statues were unveiled, Capitol Hill is one where the statue is likely to last the longest.

-- MMCMXXXIII --


06132016-074

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positive energy please
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I keep forgetting to post this . . .


Love Is (a Pain in the Ass)

Love is joy and love is pain
Love is a tedious task
Love deployed may not be gained
Love is a pain in the ass

Love is fear and love is rage
Love is a thing of the past
Love is tears and love is waged
Love is a pain in the ass

Love is hope and love is change
Love is a spell to be cast
Love is trope and love is strange
Love is a pain in the ass

Love is fooled and love is blind
Love conquers all and it's fast
Love is cruel and love is kind
Love is a pain in the ass


("copywrite" 11:48 pm friday august 12 2016)
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08132016-20


-- MMCMXXXII --


Last night I took myself to see the remake of Pete's Dragon -- which I never expected I'd even be interested in until I saw the surprisingly positive reviews. Then I felt confident I would at least like it okay, so I decided to see it. And then it exceeded my expectations. I really liked it, and I really liked how simple and straightforward and sweet it was. Given the state of most movie presentations these days, it was refreshingly unpretentious.

I spent the whole movie trying to figure out who the guy playing the brother was. Karl Urban. I had to look him up on imdb.com after the movie ended before I realized he plays Dr. Bones McCoy in the Star Trek reboot movies. I guess he was also in the second and third Lord of the Rings movies? I just looked up those images and he's totally recognizable as Eomer, a character I still can't even place in my memory. It's been a while since I've watched those movies, I should watch them again.

The movie wasn't until 7:20 and it was at Pacific Place, so I had a little over an hour to make my light dinner and watch the second to last episode of Stranger Things -- the very last moment of which about made me shit my pants. That's the kind of shit that's exactly why I resisted watching in the first fucking place! But, I'm hooked now. I'll probably watch the finale tonight after having drinks with Claudia.

-- MMCMXXXII --


08132016-21


-- MMCMXXXII --


It looks like Shobhit is leaning toward moving home next month again. I don't think it will be certain until it actually happens, but he texted me about it the other day, mentioning that he hasn't had any auditions all month. He had something like three last month, all of which went well but also went nowhere. If he does finally make that decision, the question then will be whether I use my return ticket to fly home after my September visit or ride with him as he drives his car home. It would take a couple of days, which would mean taking an extra day off -- not that it would matter much, since after that I would no longer be taking two days off a month for these visits to see him out of town. I'd restructure my work hours system I've now had for the past six years. I wouldn't have to come in to work at 7:30 anymore. I could start getting out of bed at 5:45 instead of 5:15!

It'll also be possibly the most challenging life transition I've had since moving to Seattle from college in Pullman -- even more than when Shobhit moved to begin with. But, I always knew it had to happen eventually. It will likely put a strain on our relationship. But I also feel like we'll get through that strain and emerge on the other side just fine. I'm just not really looking forward to the struggle itself. On the other hand, his being back will make a lot of things easier again as well, and that I actually am looking forward to. Maybe it sort of evens out in the end.

-- MMCMXXXII --


08132016-27

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positive energy please

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08132016-11


-- MMCMXXXI --


I'm going to have to make this super short today, because I just had a really long lunch -- with Mimi, and Elin! It had been months since I last had lunch with Elin, and Mimi had been wanting to have lunch with her too, so maybe a month or more ago, the three of us coordinated over email to have lunch together, and today was the earliest day we could do it.

Elin came and Mary in IT gave her a tour of the offices, and then Mimi and Elin and I all walked over to Café Artemis. That's the place Karen and I ate at last week, which we were thinking might become our default lunch spot. And guess what? When we left today, I saw the sign on their door: due to not being able to renew their lease, they're closing at the end of the month! Well, shit sticks. So much for Café Artemis. Elin kept saying maybe they could afford their lease if they charged more. They do have somewhat shockingly low prices. But they also don't have any wait staff (you order at the counter, and then pick up your dish when your number is called), so I'm sure they save money that way. Maybe they'll open at some other location later, but that's not going to help us here. I guess Karen and I are going to have to find some other place.

Anyway! We were there the better part of ninety minutes, what with all there was to catch up on -- including my several questions about Elin's experience so far as a retiree who is also on the PCC Board. Her answers were actually very interesting to hear about.

It was really great to see her again and I wish I could write more about it. But I have shit to do, people!

-- MMCMXXXI --


08132016-09


-- MMCMXXXI --


Last night was relatively uneventful anyway. I did laundry. I even washed towels! I finally put back the cleaned sheets from the sofa bed Tristen had slept on over the weekend, which I washed the night before. Exciting stuff. I watched two episodes of Stranger Things, which I like more with each episode, except that stupid kid crawling into the other dimension through the tree. Why the fuck were they going out looking for that monster in the middle of the night, anyway? I don't get that, especially considering the first time the girl glimpsed the thing it was actually daytime! What a couple of fucking morons. But, I'm enjoying the show anyway.

I made myself a veggie chili dog for dinner. You should sleep better tonight knowing that. I actually bought a can of corn, something I never do, when I last went shopping, and I mixed that with the veggie chili. Added chopped onion and tomato. I put the rest of the mix into a plastic container and froze it for the next time I want a veggie chili dog. Because I'm smart! Kind of.

What other news is there? When I go up to feed the cats this morning, I discovered there was cat puke on the fucking kitchen floor by stepping in it with my bare foot. That was delightful.

Today is Danielle's birthday. Her turn! She's finally forty now too. She loves to give me shit about how I'm "a year" older than her for three and a half months every year. We exchanged several texts today and it sounds like she's having a good day, and I'm glad.

-- MMCMXXXI --


08132016-17

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positive energy please

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08142016-03


I'm supposed to be hustling to get the October ads done today but have had other work-related distractions all morning. Oh well! It'll all work itself out in the end. Right now I'll take a moment to tell you about my final day with Tristen.

Well, about 3/4 of a day, anyway. I guess I sort of had a fourth of a day on Thursday so cumulatively it still comes to three full days.

Once I was done with getting ready yesterday, Tristen was still sleeping. I slapped my hands on the kitchen counter and said, "Tristen! Wake up! We need to hustle if we want to make that movie." And we then both had a bowl of the Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins Cereal that I let him pick out when I took him grocery shopping at the Columbia City PCC on Friday night. This way we finished the box. I didn't like that cereal very much. I have no idea if he did either, actually. He ate it contentedly. I thought it tasted weird.

Speaking of which, although he really never complained the whole time he was here (an admirable trait! I bitched all the time as a 16-year-old -- although, okay, never when I visited Auntie Rose, which is really the closest equivalent to what I had at his age to what I offer him), he did say something kind of funny when we went to Trader Joe's on Sunday night. He read off a bottle on the shelf: "Organic maple syrup? That sounds gross." What? He said the "organic" part was what made it sound gross. What did he expect, that it had chunks of tree bark in it? Maybe. Who knows? I told him organic was the purest way to get maple syrup and it probably tasted better than any syrup he's ever had.

I realize now that probably isn't true. He almost certainly uses shit like Mrs. Butterworth's, or some equivalent brand that doesn't have any actual maple syrup in it at all. I think that's gross -- disgusting, in fact -- but whatever. This kid also really wants to see Suicide Squad and loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I guess there's no accounting for taste, as my mother used to say.

So anyway, I quickly went over to feed Gary's cat in the West building, and then we caught a bus downtown, which was five minutes late so we barely made it on time to see Sausage Party. The timing turned out perfectly, actually; the stupid product commercials they play at Pacific Place were just ending and the actual trailers just starting when we sat down. Tristen excitedly told me how much he wanted to see more than one of the movies that looked genuinely horrible. I just had to remind myself that, when I was 16, I was totally excited for the exact same kinds of movies too.

And the movie was good, I got a lot of laughs out of it, but many of them uncomfortable -- if I had known exactly how pointedly sexual a lot of the movie would be, I probably would not have taken Tristen to see it. I guess I should have expected what I saw, given who made the movie and, well, the very title of it. But the extended orgy scene (between grocery products! -- amusing in a fairly specific way to me, given my job in the grocery industry), and a talking used condom -- things like that were a little uncomfortable sitting next to a teenager.

Not that I would ever ask him to, but Tristen certainly took no pains to hide the fact that he went to see this movie. He checked in on Facebook saying he was watching it with me. Curiously, I only heard him chuckle one time through the whole movie, while I was busting a gut regularly throughout; still, when we were leaving, he said, "That was a funny movie." I think maybe he's just not a big laugher. He clearly had fun with me but didn't laugh a whole lot all weekend. And then, right after we got back home, he was on the phone with Braeden, and then asked to talk to their dad. And he said, "Don't let Christian or Braeden see Sausage Party. It's bad." I don't think he was saying the movie was bad; I think he was saying its content was bad for kids. And this is definitely true. But then I heard him say, "I just wasn't sure because you let them watch Deadpool." Really?? Deadpool isn't any better in this particular context, and it has sex between humans! Granted, it spends far less actual time on its over-the-top sexuality than Sausage Party does, which goes there regularly from beginning to end.

In any case, I did like the movie, but I would have enjoyed it better had I not taken my nephew, which just made me feel weirdly self-conscious about having taken a 16-year-old and wondering if I really should have. I guess I won't worry about it, though.

We were back home for maybe forty-five minutes before it was time to head back out to catch Light Rail to the airport. We didn't talk much on the ride down. I snoozed part of the way, which I've kind of become an expert at doing while traveling (which means I have to make an effort not to while actually driving -- annoying). I nearly wasn't able to get a pass to accompany him to his gate; the guy said they only do that if the child is enrolled in their unaccompanied minor program -- but then he said he would do it for me "just this once." Maybe they'll do it for me "just this once" again next year, we'll see.

The security check saw what looked like mousse to them and they had to hand-check Tristen's backpack. He insisted he didn't have mousse. Turns out what they were seeing was a bottle of spray deodorant. (Tristen did shower on Friday morning, by the way. He never did again, relying only on his deodorant the rest of the days.) At one point I saw a brief glimpse of a condom in his bag pocket while the lady was rummaging through his clothes. I got no indication that Tristen knew I saw it, and I opted not to say anything. Were I in his position, I would have been mortified. (I was actually years away from even touching a condom when I was 16; that didn't happen until I was well into my twenties.) I did wonder if his parents even knew he had it. I'm inclined to assume they do, actually, but it's none of my business. It was too bad that had to happen at the airport at all. The lady kept coughing, like something in the bag was giving her an allergic reaction, so she was hardly being careful and meticulous. At one point she even said, "Sorry. I'm sick." Then what the fuck are you doing here, lady?

Once that was over and the bag was zipped back up, I went to get us lunch at the Qdoba in the food court. Once again he got a chicken quesadilla. I guess this kid likes quesadillas. Macaroni and cheese and quesadillas, check. I'll try to remember that next year.

He boarded his plane soon after 4:00. I didn't hug him goodbye; I'm sure he would have been fine with it but he's still at an age where I get too self-conscious about initiating hugs with anyone, unless there's already an established history of hugs (like with Gabriel, or Danielle, or even Ivan). I just said, "I guess I'll see you next year." He saw me taking his picture when his boarding pass was being scanned, and he even lifted his hand to wave -- I took the shot (seen above) too quickly though and didn't get the actual wave. I then headed back to the Light Rail station.

It was only a little while later that I saw his Facebook post, the screenshot of which is seen below. Aww, how sweet! I was actually kind of touched by that. It really gave me a deeper sense of his appreciation for this weekend, that I didn't think had really quite registered. I mean, I could definitely tell he was having fun, quiet as he often was (he wasn't shy -- that's different; he's just generally quiet). But that post gave an indication that these visits mean something to him, something more than mere fun, I think. Shit, I practically offer those kids a portal into another dimension, my life is so different from theirs.

I'm really glad they're finally able to visit again. The amount of money I am now having to spend on them all again is of secondary, comparatively very minor importance. It's totally worth it. The apology I got from my brother last April actually made up for a lot. During that three-year hiatus, I was totally ready just to write him off, and would have been fine with it if we never spoke to each other again. But getting that apology shifted my thinking completely -- no sense in continuing to nurse resentments. All I can do now is feel gratitude that he finally came around again, and move forward from here.

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positive energy please