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The Literary Exhibitionist

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positive energy please
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02102017-01


-- चार हजार और तीस-नौ --


There's a rather wide range of attitude about Valentine's Day. A lot of single people resent it. Some of them pointedly reject it. Some coupled people pointedly reject it.

Some people, on the other hand, like me, have historically been relatively indifferent to it. The occasional valentine from friends, the higher chance than usual of some chocolate passed around at the office. What's to hate?

Shobhit and I have long marked the occasion of Valentine's Day in some way, but never do a particularly notable degree -- nothing like anniversaries or birthdays, for instance. For three of the six Valentine's Days we lived apart (2011, 2012, 2014), we had dinner together over video chat. We chose our return visit to New York in 2013 to be over Valentine's Day weekend; in 2015 and 2016 I was able to schedule my Los Angeles visits to coincide with it. In 2015 we actually had reservations at a nice restaurant in L.A. which insisted they had no such reservation, and so we wound up going out for a burger and a burrito. Special! Last year was more fun: we took a day trip to San Diego.

This year marked our first Valentine's Day in Seattle together since 2010. As it happens, this year we went to the very same place we went that year: Palomino. I had asked Shobhit last week, maybe the week before, if he wanted to make reservations somewhere for Valentine's Day. I suggested either Il Fornaio, the Italian restaurant at Pacific Place we've always liked, or Palomino. He clearly leaned toward the latter, although he wasn't yet sold on eating out at all. I made the reservation early last week just in case, keeping in mind we could just cancel if necessary.

But by Monday this week, he seemed perfectly down with planning to go to Palomino. He was even dressed up -- for him, anyway -- when I got home from work yesterday: blue pants that I don't think were technically slacks but were closer to it than jeans; a tucked-in blue and white checkered button-down shirt.

I had jeans on, as I always do, but felt no compulsion to change. I was wearing a shite polo shirt with subtle red Eastern-like patterns on it and a red collar, one of several shirts he once brought back for me from a work trip to Malaysia. Maybe some day he'll go on a trip like that again and I can go with him. I really need to start taking international trips for once in my life. I'm not getting any younger.

We took about half an hour to walk together down to the City Centre building, the three-story shopping mall at the bottom of which is a place where I have kind of a long history. I moved to Seattle in 1998, and at the time there was a two-screen movie theatre on the third floor that closed many years ago now. I saw Saving Private Ryan there. It's some medical place now. When Shobhit and I entered the building last night, it was through the American Eagle store on the northeast corner of the block, which many years ago was an FAO Schwarz -- the location of Barbara's first job after she moved to Seattle in 2000 to help Mike and me attempt to start up the Seattle Gay News. She continued to work there once a week even while she worked full time at the paper, and I believed she retained employment there until they closed the store in 2004. Shobhit and I both used the men's room up there on the third floor, where Palomino has always also been located, and I told him about how, back in my super-early Seattle days while I worked at the papers, and long before they put code locks on the bathroom doors, I used to go into that bathroom and steal huge rolls of toilet paper out of the toilet stalls. I needed to save money on something, I rationalized, and I figured it was a victimless crime. I remember Craig, who worked at the paper, looked down on me for that.

It's kind of amazing to me how much time has gone by now. Those years feel like ancient history. I started working at PCC a couple of years after all that, and as of this summer I've worked here for fifteen years.

Anyway! What always brings Shobhit and me back to Palomino is their "Potatoes Gorgonzola" dish -- pictured at the bottom of this entry. It's waffle fries with creamy gorgonzola cheese poured over them. They are fucking amazing. Maybe my favorite dish by anyone anywhere. I think it's typically on the Happy Hour menu, and there have been periods (including when we went there in 2010) when they did not offer it, so I was disappointed not to find it on any available menu when we sat down. We were even told they weren't doing Happy Hour at all last night. But, I asked the lovely and very attentive waitress about it and she said they could still do the dish for us. Hooray! Totally worth going out for.

I made the strategic decision -- which made Shobhit very happy -- of having cocktails at home before leaving, in lieu of ordering them at dinner. Actually I made myself a three-shot hot buttered rum and poured him the rest of his bottle of wine, not realizing he'd already had three glasses of it. He acted a bit tipsy at home, which concerned me, but that was totally gone by the time we got to the restaurant. Shobhit said on most bills there, alcohol alone likely makes up at least half the cost. I believe him. We shared that starter plate, a salad, and one of the pizzas. For the two of us together I paid $45, and that's including a tip that slightly exceeded 25%. That's a much better dinner check, admittedly, than the $54 I paid for myself alone at The Saint on Friday. But, that night I had three margaritas. I have no intention of spending like that again until . . . maybe the next time I go to Happy Hour with Laney.

Shobhit also wanted dessert, and we even considered the dessert menu at Palomino, but nothing on it particularly spoke to us. And besides, he wanted to go somewhere we could use a coupon. Of course. Well, Bluebird Creamery had a Chinook Book coupon in the app on my phone for 2 for 1. So I wound up with a scoop of peanut butter ice cream and he wound up with a scoop of Caffe Vita Coffee. We each got a flavor the other hates. He also never likes his ice cream very solid, and often even nukes it a little. I ate mine while we walked home, but he set his in the refrigerator, so by this morning it was just in its little paper cup, completely melted. He'll probably love that. Gross.

-- चार हजार और तीस-नौ --


02142017-01


-- चार हजार और तीस-नौ --


I had a spontaneous physical exam today!

Also, I made the mistake of asking the new doctor how old she is. When I saw her in October, I figured she was at least in her thirties. Today I said, "Do you mind if I ask how old you are?" And she told me. Thirty. Thirty! What the shit? They actually have doctors that young? Is she related to Doogie Howser? I suppose that's unlikely, since she's South Asian. Anyway, then I was like, "Oh my god. I almost regret asking that now." I mean, seriously. Jesus Christ. I thought doctors were supposed to be old!

I mentioned this when I got to work today and Kibby was just like, "Get used to it." I suppose she has a point. Still, being younger than I am is one thing. But by eleven years? This woman is barely out of her twenties, for fuck's sake. She's younger than Ivan! She's older than Tommy, but only barely.

I learned something rather interesting about our old doctor, the one who dropped all of his patients to take a different position at the hospital. Apparently he actually wasn't quite following guidelines now being implemented, which Shobhit and I were getting kind of annoyed by. For the first time I was given a sheet of paper on which to write what I wanted to talk about, and I just wrote, "Why I have to make an appointment for this." All I needed was a renewal of my Truvada prescription, which my last doctor said I could just email him for. And this new doctor was very forthright and honest about it and I found it very satisfactory how she explained. In fact, I said to her, "Well, I do prefer you actually follow recommended guidelines. That makes sense to me."

Not only that, but I would say today she kind of went above and beyond for me -- not once, but twice. In the first case, because I had made it fairly clear I didn't like the idea of having to make a doctor's appointment every three months, she said that because I always use condoms she does not consider me "high risk." I suspect this depends on how different people define "high risk." I always figured I fell into that category from a statistical perspective just because I spent so much time having sex with other people roughly once every month. (TMI? I'm a slut, get over it. Not nearly as much -- or at all, actually -- lately since Shobhit has moved back, but I have no interest in re-committing to monogamy.) But, she suggested I make an appointment with the Infectious Diseases department to discuss whether I'd be right for switching to "post-exposure prophylaxis," which would mean taking the Truvada pill only after sexual encounters, rather than every single morning as I have been.

Well, this is new. All this time I had been conditioned to believe it was imperative the pill be taken every single day or else there was the risk of it not working. So, whether I was sexually active or not, I've been taking it daily for the better part of two years. I took this information seriously. I had no idea there was even an option for using it like a "morning after pill for gay men," as Shobhit put it. I mean, I get the medication at no cost through Aetna Specialty Pharmacy, but cutting down how often I have to take it by an exponential degree would still massively reduce inconveniences -- both of having to remember to take it daily (which Shobhit struggles with) and of having to have an in-person doctor appointment in order to get the prescription renewed every three months. I quite like this idea.

Now, for all I know, the people at Infectious Diseases may have a differing definition of "high risk" than my doctor does, and say I should still take it daily. But it's obviously worth finding out.

And then! I asked the nurse (or whatever she was) who checked me in when my last actual physical was, and she said . . . last February. Oh, shit! I have often had to postpone annual physical appointments because I did not call in early enough to make the appointment, and this year I had totally forgotten about it. I told the doctor that if I had been thinking, I would have made this appointment my physical. So then she said, "I have some extra time, do you just want to do it now?" That would be fantastic!

So that's what we did. After the routine STD swabs in two of my orifices (I'll let you guess which ones, it can be a fun game!), we proceeded to the routine physical stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary, it seems I'm just about as healthy as can be. She didn't even think I needed my cholesterol checked. It didn't take much time at all, and it saved me having to make another appointment. I've decided I kind of love this doctor. Even if she is too young. I guess in another ten years she won't be.

After that I had to go two floors down to floor 6 for the blood work and to leave a urine sample. All pretty routine for me too, at this point, including my having to tell them I needed to be reclined and not see any of the needles or tubes of blood. So: no passing out today, yay!

By the way, this doctor's appointment was actually supposed to have been yesterday morning. I got to work, and Scott read aloud an Outlook alert: "Matthew arriving in ten minutes." I said, "...Shit! God damn it!" I then had to call Virginia Mason to reschedule, and by some miracle they had an opening this morning at 7:30. I put an extra reminder on my phone so it would keep appearing on my screen, and I didn't even mark it as complete until today's appointment was done and over with.

Maybe one of these days I should tell my doctor I think I may be suffering from early-onset dementia.

-- चार हजार और तीस-नौ --


This was new: I just got a free lunch from one of our brokers, just because I happened to be in the kitchen to take my Amy's Cheese Pizza in a Pocket out of the oven, when the reps for Organic Valley were in there making grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches for Scott and Noah and Kevin. I was offered one without bacon, and, well, how could I refuse that? So much for a low-calorie lunch! (To my amazement, although my weight was indeed up this morning after all I consumed last night, it was still by less than a pound. Not sure that will carry over to tomorrow.)

I still ate my pizza pocket, because I had just baked it. And I could have declined the grilled cheese, but . . . well, I'm not insane. I did only eat half the sandwich, though. So there's that.

I sat to eat alongside Scott and Noah, which I almost never do. I usually eat at my desk. But, I was waiting for the sandwich to grill. So I ate the half of it that I ate there too. We all sat on the high chairs at the counter on the other side of the counter-island. I asked Noah, "So why is this happening? How come they're all here making lunch for everyone?" Noah said, "Because this is what they do, and they are beautiful people."

The woman from Presence Marketing, her name is Ayn -- pronounced like "Anne" -- and she was full of compliments when introducing me to the others. She even asked to take a picture of me because one of her assistants, Tonja, with whom I converse via email frequently about promotions, doesn't know what I look like. You know me, I'm happy to pose for any photo. Now I expect a picture of Tonja too, though.

I had an email exchange from another woman at a different brokerage this morning who was also rather effusive about something she was happy with that I had done for her. So I wrote back:

You should totally send me more booze!

Not just because I am amazing and wonderful (and also modest), but because I am shameless. :D :D :D

Admit it it’s why you love me.


And what did she tell me? "Goodies are on the way!"

Seriously it's too easy.

-- चार हजार और तीस-नौ --


02142017-04

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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12252016-23


-- चार हजार और तीस-आठ --


It's Valentine's Day! Which means I sort of lost all self-control when it came to food consumption this morning. And my weight was back down a pound when I woke up! But I grabbed like five chocolates from the jar at the front desk when I arrived. I really shouldn't have done that. But how was I supposed to know I'd come to my desk with a gift from Scott of a raspberry jam filled croissant? And then a spread of bagels and cream cheese in the office kitchen for the whole office.

I especially should have skipped the bagel and cream cheese. But it was bagels and cream cheese. Also, there was a bagel slicer provided, and I decided today that is my new favorite invention.

On the plus side, my lunch today is an Amy's Cheese Pizza in a Pocket Sandwich, and thus the lowest-calorie lunch I ever eat: 310 calories. Okay fine, what I usually have is the Spinach Pizza in a Pocket Sandwich -- that's the flavor I buy, and that one is 280 calories. But this Cheese Pizza one is one of the samples the brand rep sent me a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, it's still fewer calories than almost all of the other lunches I usually eat.

Now my challenge will be to eat nothing until dinner tonight. Shobhit and I have reservations at Palomino in the City Centre building, one of our favorite restaurants, although we only eat there every few years.

-- चार हजार और तीस-आठ --


I just spent about ten minutes writing a rather detailed email to Darrell, our Director of Merchandising, because he came up to me and said, "I hear you know Manhattan?" Well, a) not all of it, far from it; and b) I haven't been there in four years. I sure do want to go back, though.

Anyway, he's going to travel there soon for work, and wanted hotel recommendations. So I went through my seventeen New York City visit photo sets to job my memory. At first I told him I'd only stayed in a hotel there once, but then realized I'd actually done so three times. The most recent, of course, was February (Valentine's Day weekend, in fact) 2013, to visit roughly a year and a half after he moved from there to L.A. But we also stayed at a hotel when we went there the first time, in March 2010, to scout places for him to live. And the second time was a total last-minute surprise, the Lotus Hotel over Thanksgiving Week in 2010, when he had to rush out of a new apartment only a day after he moved into it because his female roommate immediately proved to be psychotic and started smacking him and he literally had to call the cops on her. I can still remember that Monday before Thanksgiving when he called me at work saying "My roommate hit me!" and I was like, What? And I looked up hotels on Hotels.com to find last-minute places for him to stay.

The Lotus Hotel no longer exists, though. I have a vague memory of once learning it closed because it was being run in some way illegally. I just remember there were shared bathrooms, which was a bummer, but it was a perfectly suitable and nice and clean and quite place all things considered under those bizarre circumstances. And it was actually because of that whole fiasco that he found his final place, where he lived by himself in the tiniest studio imaginable (as in, something like only 8 or 9 square feet larger than the master bathroom in our Seattle condo). That building also had shared bathrooms on each floor, and he also had cockroaches in his room. But, he didn't have a roommate, and he found that place because he asked the property manager he had to talk to about the crazy lady who, it turned out, was subletting to him illegally, if they had any other properties where he might find a place to live. And they offered that room to him, and he wound up there for the next nine months, until he moved to L.A.

Anyway. Memories!

-- चार हजार और तीस-आठ --


01222017-02


-- चार हजार और तीस-आठ --


So. Last night, then? Not much to report. I came home, Shobhit had dinner made, which was what he made himself the night before when Ivan and I went out to eat pho'. It was way too spicy then, but last night he said he added cheese and yogurt to cut down on the spices. I actually tried to eat it. I couldn't do it, and made myself a veggie dog instead. So much tastier! (As in, there was actual flavor, rather than nothing but hot spice. Which Shobhit constantly confuses with flavor.)

Shobhit keeps talking about conditioning me to tolerate higher levels of spice. I say, fuck that noise. I shouldn’t have to change my taste preferences. To Shobhit's credit, he often lowers spice levels so I can tolerate what he's making (which, by the way, when it's not too spicy, is typically delicious). But I don't see that as the same thing. I'm not asking him to change what his preferences are. He shouldn't expect me to change mine. I don't like spicy food.

On the flip side, of course, he doesn't like non-spicy food (which he equates to "bland," even though a basic understanding of the English language reveals that to be a different thing). He always wants to be able to share meals, though. Yeah, well. So what if we don't always share? It's not the end of the world. Let's leave that to President Fuckwit's insanely inept, incompetent and corrupt administration.

We watched the season premiere of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Then we watched the season/series finale of The Young Pope. So then I started on the first episode of The People v. OJ Simpson, the FX show I never had access to while the whole country talked about it during its initial airing on FX, but it just recently became available on Netflix Streaming. Sarah Paulson won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her performance in that show, and I can already tell why, just from the first episode.

Shobhit refused to watch that one and went back to his headphones to watch more Midsummer Murders on his laptop, which truly mystifies me. Why does he have zero interest in this show? He usually wants to see the super popular stuff, and that show was huge. Whatever!

-- चार हजार और तीस-आठ --


And now, this is interesting: Ivan just messaged me asking for a doctor recommendation since he's going to see a doctor, apparently for the first time in two years. As it happens, the doctor Shobhit and I shared for several years had to drop all his patients just last year due to accepting a different position at the hospital, which was annoying. We have only seen our new doctor, a young-ish woman who happens to be South Asian, once each, but we both rather like her. So I sent him her profile page from the Virginia Mason Medical Center website.

It would be kind of odd for all three of us to wind up with the same doctor, I was just about to say. But then, literally as I was about to start this paragraph, he wrote back, OMG, a female doctor? Ummm, nope, not happening!! Uh, well, all right then. My doctor needs to be a MAN, he says.

I know there are people with these sorts of preferences. I seriously couldn't give a shit. And actually I just took her as the one who was automatically assigned to us when our previous doctor dropped his patients. It just turns out I like her so far.

-- चार हजार और तीस-आठ --


01222017-01

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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02062017-20


-- चार हजार और तीस-सात --


I had dinner with Ivan last night. Shobhit did not join us. He preferred to stay home and make his dinner. Ivan got really sick on Friday though, even stayed home from work, and kept saying he felt like he was going to die. He even announced his sickness to me over Facebook Messenger: Matthew I am sick and had to call in to work today. As much as I adore Ivan, my first thought was honestly, Uh, why do I care? It seemed odd that he should message me that, unless he just wanted some sympathy and couldn’t think of where else to get it. Granted, it was useful information I could pass on to Shobhit so he'd know not to go walking around the condo in the nude or something, without realizing Ivan hadn't gone to work.

Anyway, after a few message exchanges, Ivan wrote, I'd sure like to go get some pho this weekend. It would nourish both my abused and failing body as well as my world-weary soul. (He has a penchant for that kind of exaggerative language, even when he's not sick.) I said I would love to get pho' but would be unavailable until Sunday evening due to all the other weekend plans I already had in place. He wrote: Okay. I will try and make it until then. Unless I go to be with the Lord first. He was sick but cracking me up.

And then, later that same day -- on Friday -- kind of annoying: he messaged me again at nearly 5:30 asking if I would be home soon. Please come into my room when you do, I need help. Um, okay? I told him I would likely be a few hours. Two hours later (two is not the same as "few," Ivan), me messaged me again: When? Jesus Christ. I told him probably another hour or so, and what's going on? No response.

Even Laney became quite curious as to what help he needed and insisted more than once that I text her with an update when I got home. Turned out, he was just so sick that he wanted me to do a couple of simple tasks for him so he wouldn't have to get out of bed: close his bedroom window for him. Replace the can of ginger ale that appeared to have been knocked on his floor with a cold one from the refrigerator. Get him some water. Get him some Tylenol from his bathroom. I happily did all these things and all the while hoped he was not particularly contagious. I could only see his head poking above his covers and he seemed barely even able to talk.

Evidently he took a quick turn for the better that evening, though. He showered, and said that always makes him feel better (I know what he means there, actually; I have the same experience when not feeling well). He was dressed and up and walking around a bit later that evening. He rather surprised me by apparenty having been so sick that not just on Friday, but the entire weekend he wore his glasses, which he apparently generally hates doing. In fact it was the first time I had ever even seen them on his face, and he lived with me for either months in 2014. When I mentioned how surprised I was that he was even going out in public with them on as we walked to The Pho' for dinner last night, he noted that were to see his "beloved" (this guy he's been in love with since 2014 but it not in love with him) he'd tear them off his face and toss them over the fence we were walking by, near the Capitol Hill Light Rail station. As I said, he likes to speak in exaggeration. He did have to take the glasses off right after we got our pho', which I found rather amusing, because the hot bowl of soup immediately fogged them over.

I keep thinking about this guy I saw at dinner, dining alone at a table maybe four feet behind Ivan and then another three feet or so to his right. He had to have been in his twenties. Very thin. Relatively tall, and although he had a beard, he had eye makeup on as far as I could tell. High heeled, rather feminine boots that, in spite of being light brown, I liked a lot and would totally wear myself. Earrings, and short-cropped hair on the sides but much longer hair in a middle-strip reminiscent of a Mohawk, but put up in a man-bun. It made me think about how much easier it is for someone to walk around unself-consciously like that now, even on Capitol Hill, which people constantly complain about being "less gay" than it used to be. Except when I moved here two decades ago, even on the supposedly then-gayer Capitol Hill, I was often self-conscious just walking around with eye makeup on. I had much longer and much fuller hair and did have mail polish so I suppose it could be argued that I was at the very least as androgynous then as this guy was now. Just in different ways.

I think about things like this and it makes me think about how the world -- okay, maybe the world of liberal bubbles like Seattle -- is more accepting in general, even if so-called "gay ghettos" are now less gay than they used to be. Isn't this what we wanted? That guy did not appear to be thinking at all about how anyone else was looking at him. He thought about his appearance when he made himself up at home, and then forgot about it.

I was looking at the guy's boots when Ivan said to me, "You look very pensive." I said, "I like that guy's boots." Ivan glanced over and said, "Maybe you should get yourself a pair." I said, "Maybe I should." Then, after a pause, I added, "I hate his beard." Ivan immediately got a little uncomfortable, put his finger to his lips in the "shush" gesture, and said that was rude. I said, "He can't hear me." I couldn't hear anyone else's conversation in there; why would he hear ours? Also, he was absorbed by his phone and quite obviously paying no attention to us whatsoever. I was honestly surprised Ivan would even care. Sometimes I just can't figure him out.

And as if the glasses weren't enough surprise for one day, Ivan surprised me again while we walked home. I mentioned we had talked once about watching the Lord of the Rings movies, and he's very interested in doing that. I mentioned those movies are, taken as one long film, my fourth-favorite movie of all time. So he asked what my favorite movie is. When I said it was Batman Returns, he said he'd never seen it.

What?

What's more, he would be interested in watching it.

What-what?

I then found out he'd never seen the 1989 Batman movie either (which was released when he was four years old, I realized just a few minutes later), and would be interested in that one too. So we decided right then, once Shobhit and I watched the episode of The Young Pope that we had to watch after I returned home, we would then watch Batman. And that's exactly what we did. Shobhit hadn't seen it in a long time himself and so we all three watched it together. As per usual, Ivan spent about half the time on his phone (we talked over dinner about how very different he is from other Millennials, but one thing he's definitely got in common is the stereotypically microscopic attention span), but he does that even with his own movies from Netflix. It's sort of his thing, and he saw enough of it. When the movie ended, I said, "So?" and he gestured a thumbs-up with his left hand.

Even Shobhit remarked on how good Jack Nicholson's performance was. "He's excellent in this," I agreed. In a weird way, it illustrates how great Heath Ledger actually was in The Dark Knight, being able to make The Joker an iconic character in his own way, even after Jack Nicholson's equally iconic turn two decades before.

Anyway, now we're all set to watch Batman Returns next weekend. I can't wait! I got literally excited about this. This never happens -- meeting someone who a) has never seen the movie, and b) is actually interested in seeing it. And the movies I have seen the most times (I've probably seen this one at least thirty times by now) are the most fun to see with someone else who has never watched it before. I mean, he'll see about half of it while spending the other half looking at his phone but whatever.

-- चार हजार और तीस-सात --


06132016-031


-- चार हजार और तीस-सात --


So, what else?

Shobhit should be happy to know he'll officially get a point on the next Social Review for the walk we took yesterday afternoon, through the Broadway Farmers Market to the Broadway Market QFC, and then up to Caffe Ladro up on 15th where we used a buy-one-get-one coupon to get him a black coffee and me a chai latte.

He didn't feel like joining Laney and me for watching Arrival in the theatre downstairs at 2:00, nor Ivan and me for dinner. But he wanted that point! So that makes two for the weekend, since he went with me to see Moulin Rouge! at Central Cinema on Saturday afternoon. Holy shit I had a social weekend! I'm glad I did a brief update yesterday morning, saving me some time on this entry today. I'm overwhelmed with all the beautiful and wonderful people who want to spend time with me! (I just realized I still hadn't added the picture the guy at our neighboring table offered to take of us on Friday night at The Saint, and so I just added it to that entry. I didn’t even mention in the entry that we all wrote thank-you Valentines to send to the two Republican Senators who voted against Betsy DeVos. This had been suggested as an alternative to this event/movement on Facebook to send Valentines to Melania Trump, who has since proven to be just as morally bankrupt as her fuckwit husband.)

Anyway! This walk was after having pancakes for brunch at home, then watching Saturday Night Live, which was honestly a rather weak episode, aside from two great skits (including a Fatal Attraction sendup about KellyAnne Conway). The Broadway Farmers Market was rather weak in offerings too, actually. But we found quarts of yogurt at QFC we could get for free thanks to several coupons I got from work.

I thought my weight might be down after having only the pancakes and pho' for dinner and no lunch in between, but I also had that chai latte and later hot chocolate spiked with two shots of Fireball whiskey during our viewing of Batman. Oh, and also popcorn during Arrival. So as of this morning my weight has shot right back above 146 lbs again -- and it was below 144 two days ago. Fuck sticks! I need to get my shit together.

-- चार हजार और तीस-सात --


And then, of course, there's the viewing of Arrival with Laney -- which, as it turns out, is very much enhanced by a second viewing. Few movies do that as well as this one does, but so much of what you're seeing has new meaning when you watch it a second time. Laney and I talked about it for several minutes afterward as a result. It was really nice finally being able to see that movie again.

Jessica did not join us. She had watched it with us the first time when we all went after it opened in November, and she had also already seen it two more times subsequently with two other friends. She didn't need to see it a fourth time. Shobhit didn't even need to see it a second time, and Ivan clearly had no interest when I mentioned it. (He had also gone to see it in the fall, by himself.) So it was just Laney and me.

Someone had left a bag of tortilla chips in the compartment below the popcorn maker. Laney and I helped ourselves to some, even though the bag was open, because we are classy. We put handfuls into the popcorn tubs before actually having popcorn -- which Shobhit also came down to get some of, just taking it with him back up to the condo.

Anyway I think that covers everything now.

-- चार हजार और तीस-सात --


06262016-001

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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I feel like I'll have too much to write about tomorrow if I don't do this so I'm actually going to post a rare weekend journal entry right now. It's still only just after 8 a.m. anyway, and Shobhit is still snoozing in bed. Guru is laying on his chest, paws sprawled out to Shobhit's neck. It's rather adorable.

And I just finished writing my solid-B review of The LEGO Batman Movie, which I went to see at Cinerama last night, with Ev, her boyfriend Elden, and her work friend named Therese, whom I met for the first time. They all arrived separately, as I bought my ticket separately -- she had told me earlier last week that she already bought her tickets and what row they were in. I went to check for available seats and, miraculously, the one seat still left in row S in the balcony was right next to them. So, I bought it on my phone. With the service fee it came to $17.50 which, I have to admit, was a little ridiculous. The movie was all right but not really worth that much, not even at Seattle's best theatre.

They didn't even get there until just after the trailers started. I'd gotten there nearly ten minutes early, giving me plenty of time to use the bathroom and buy some popcorn before heading up to find my seat. But obviously this meant there was no visiting we could do before the movie started, although we did a little bit after it ended. I had suggested we wait until the credits finished to see if there was a post-credit sequence like in just about all superhero movies anymore. We were all rather disappointed to find out there wasn't.

We made our way downstairs to the lobby and chatted for a bit there. That was when, somehow, I learned that all three of them love kale. What the shit? I told them that made me feel like I was in The Twilight Zone, being with three people who all love kale. That literally makes no sense.

We got to that point in conversation when Elden himself said he had recently mentioned to Ev that they don't hang out with me enough. Aww, how sweet! I said it's always hard to coordinate with Ev's schedule, and she said she's got more evenings free now, so that's good to know. I did ask her last week if she wanted to go see John Wick Vol. 2 with me but she said she's not much interested in that one. I mentioned that we should go eat at Veggie Grill sometime, as she's mentioned to me at least twice now via Facebook Messenger how great their new "Beyond Burger" apparently is. And that was how we got into talking about kale.

They they had to go use the bathroom, and I wanted to get home so I left. I kept nodding off during the movie, I was so tired; I'd gotten too little sleep Friday night, thanks to Guru waking me up at 6 am and meowing constantly for the next full fucking hour. I realized later the food dispenser I use to give them treats at 4:45 every morning was empty so that's probably the reason; I filled it up later. I got home last night and zonked out, in bed just after 10:00, which was why I didn't write and post the review until this morning. I got a nice, solid night's sleep last night, never even waking up until morning. And that's kind of rare these days.

That wasn't even the only movie I went to see yesterday -- I think few movies playing at Central Cinema could get Shobhit to come with me to see one there, but he loves Moulin Rouge! and it was playing. I told Ivan we were going to see that, and he just said, "That's an old movie. You have it down there." Yes, and yes: I have the DVD. But I haven't seen it in a theatre since it came out in 2001, and we could get lunch at Central Cinema. Ivan didn't even know about Central Cinema and suggested we go see something there sometime, which I'd love to do, except for one slight challenge: I told him they only play old movies there, and he said that's fine as long as it's not something he's already seen before. So, we'll see.

Anyway, Shobhit and I left at 12:45 to walk the six or so blocks over there -- one block past the apartment building Barbara used to live in when she worked at Central Cinema (and was hired when the theatre first opened, actually). She moved back east in April 2010, though, just one month after Shobhit moved to New York. Shobhit's now moved back, but Barbara never will.

Central Cinema changed their menu and again are not offering the "Firenze" pizza with sliced potato and kalamata olives that I love so much. Dammit! I ordered a different vegetarian pizza, since their calzone of the day had meat, and it was just okay. I still love their popcorn. We also shared two starter plates. I even skipped dinner -- well, aside from popcorn -- and still am back up a pound and a half this morning. Fuck sticks!

The movie was itself after Shobhit and I had already gone out, grocery shopping, at four different stores: PCC Greenlake Village for a record low number of items (the cashier even commented: "I usually ring you up for a couple hundred dollars!" -- not anymore, apparently); the Asian grocery store in the International District with its scuzzy atmosphere and cheap produce; QFC on Capitol Hill; and even Trader Joe's so I could get some syrup for the pancakes we plan on eating later this morning. It was just grocery shopping and still we made the rounds around town.

Friday night, Shobhit opted out of joining Laney and me for Happy Hour Art Night at The Saint, which we went to so I could try their blood orange margarita. Jessica did come along, and we all had one of those drinks. It cost $12.50, not being part of Happy Hour, and was just okay. Not really worth that price. Their standard margarita for Happy Hour was certainly worth $6, though, and we each had two of those. Laney and Jessica both had a third, but that was after Happy Hour, so those were more expensive. Factoring in my $9.50 entree, we all got confused by the bill, but instead of asking the waiter to separate it for us -- which we probably should have done -- we all agreed to split it three ways and I would just pay a lower tip.

I paid 18% of my usual 20%. I should have paid almost no tip, I realized later, as I calculated that if we had separated the checks and I paid 20%, I still would have spent $7 than the $54 I paid. And when I came home and Shobhit asked how much it cost, he fucking flipped out -- quite needlessly, regardless of my mistake. He really was a raging asshole about it, saying I had already fucked up my budget (not true) and refusing to let it go. Like, even when I thought we were done arguing about it, he'd bring it up again: "I don't know why you make me so angry." Take some fucking responsibility for your own emotions. I don't spend that much every time I go out; I'm not always over budget and sometimes am actually under; I still have plenty in my budget balance even right now; and I don't need a husband thinking he can micromanage my finances, even if I am the only one with a job right now. I was later still a little pissy about it all and when he asked why I was made I said, "Fuck off, you know why." That was maybe a little uncalled for. I still felt like I was making a valid point.

And this was all after, I suspect, Shobhit had chosen not to join us Friday night because of slight tensions between him and Laney the previous two times they were together. We'll see how things are today when Laney comes over to watch Arrival in the theatre downstairs. Shobhit and I had a much better day yesterday, anyway. And to be honest it's been nice to have a weekend in which I don't spend every waking moment with him -- but also still do some things with him.

That's the kid of balance I prefer. And when I got back from the movie last night, Sachin was over, so he had him to visit with when I went to bed. And now it's Sunday, and today is another day, and I can tell you about today in tomorrow's DLU instead of the entire weekend.


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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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04262016-08


-- चार हजार और तीस-छह --


Whoa have I got the social weekend shaping up! Tonight: Happy Hour Art Night at The Saint. I sure hope they still have the blood orange margaritas they emailed me about a couple of weeks ago and are the very reason we chose to go back there this time.

Somewhat to my surprise, Shobhit actually agreed to go watch Moulin Rouge! with me at Central Cinema tomorrow afternoon. I mean, he always loved that movie, and he loves the soundtrack, and he hasn't watched the movie in a long time. Neither have I, actually. I've been trying to find a movie to see there with Claudia but getting her when she has neither her kid around (nothing against the kid; he just prevents her from socializing on weekends she has him) nor other plans is something that necessitates a high-level math degree.

Then I'm joining Ev and her boyfriend Elden and another friend of hers at Cinerama tomorrow night to see The LEGO Batman Movie, which I'm rather looking forward to in spite of my relative disappointment in The LEGO Movie (which I still gave a solid B) and my refusal to see any more superhero movies. This only sort of qualifies as the latter, though, and it's getting good reviews and looks like it'll be fun. I don't have huge expectations so it'll be harder for this one to let me down.

Then Laney is coming back over for another movie viewing in the Braeburn Condos theatre: of Shobhit's screener copy of Arrival. Laney and I had talked for weeks about going to see it a second time, but then the screener arrived and I suggested we just watch it in our condo complex theatre. Why not save the money? Also, even though our little theatre is far smaller than a regular one, it's still much closer to a theatre-going experience than watching movies on the TV inside the condo itself. Hopefully the trick I think I figured out to get the damned DVDs to play last time still holds.

And: I guess Ivan called in sick today and this time he didn't like about it. We've exchanged Facebook messages in which he actually cracked me up -- he keeps talking about how he hopes it isn't fatal and the Lord may come to take him. I guess he's weak and has a sore throat. It sounds very flu-like and I sure as shit hope I don't catch whatever he's got. (Ironically, he recently commented on how seldom he gets sick due to his work as a nurse building his immune defenses.) He's now interested in getting pho' this weekend so we made plans to go on Sunday evening since at this point that was the only time I had available! We'll see if he doesn’t change his mind between now and then.

This of course diminishes what little chance there already was of my posting any regular journal updates again until Monday. So there you have it -- a preview. I know you're thrilled. You're welcome.

-- चार हजार और तीस-छह --


05212016-07


-- चार हजार और तीस-छह --


And I'm sure you're dying to know what happened last night! Nearly nothing at all. I had stir fry that Shobhit made for dinner. Watched episodes of This Is Us, New Girl, Modern Family (which was particularly funny this week) and The Big Bang Theory. I read a few pages of my library book. Fell asleep fairly early. For the second night in a row, woke up around 2 a.m. because I had to fucking pee. I blame both age and the fact that I keep drinking tons of tea every evening lately. What a pain the ass. Or the bladder, I suppose.

In other news, President Fuckwit is still a fuckwit. I wonder how long until he's impeached? Samantha Bee recently did an interview with a civil rights lawer in which she said "He seems to be sprinting towards impeachment" -- from her lips to the nonexistent God's ears! I've seen some recent stuff online about Mike Pence lying about shit too. I wonder what the chances are of him getting impeached? People are so obsessed with President Fuckwit that this doesn't even get discussed. And Shobhit recently showed me a Rachel Maddow segment in which she broke down a recent poll in which everything was bad for President Fuckwit except for one thing: by a very slim margin, respondents still preferred him as president to the idea of a President Mike Pence.

But, whatever. I'll say it before and I'll say it again: Mike Pence is evil, President Fuckwit is crazy. Evil is easier to deal with than crazy.

-- चार हजार और तीस-छह --


09232016-03

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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02062017-16


-- चार हजार और तीस-पाँच --


Same shit, different day: yesterday I left work at 4:30 and was home by 5:20. Shobhit asked what I wanted for dinner and I said I was thinking veggie burgers. "I had a feeling you'd say that," he said -- because we have several sample boxes of Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers, which are not my favorite at all, but hey -- free food! Still, I'd like to burn through them. We chose the Korean Bibimbap patties -- and they proved surprisingly tasty, if annoyingly mushy. That's my issue with this brand of veggie burger: they fall apart so easily, and then start oozing out the other side of the buns. It really did taste good, to be fair.

We aren't currently carrying any of their veggie burgers, incidentally. They just sent us a shit ton of their samples and Noah told me several weeks ago to feel free to take them home. I've had to do so in increments, because of both the volume of samples and how small our freezer is at home, which we share with a roommate. We already carry nine other brands of veggie burgers; I can't imagine we need another right now. (And as far as I'm concerned, the Field Roast burger patties are the only ones truly worth carrying anyway -- I don't even care how expensive they are. They are the best.)

I watched two episodes of This Is Us, having discovered the night before that I'm four episodes behind. Shobhit took his laptop into the bedroom to watch his own shows there. Slight irony with that: I only watch This Is Us because of him; he told me the pilot was really good and so I gave it a look. And then he lost interest after about three episodes, but I continued to watch. I really like it, for several reasons. But, then I watched the episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with John Oliver on as a guest, so Shobhit came out to the living room to watch that with me. And then I went to another episode of The Is Us and Shobhit left again.

Shobhit had mentioned a couple of days ago that The Late Show beat The Tonight Show in total viewers last week. I see now, though, that Fallon is still ahead in key demographics. Whatever. I still liked hearing that. I can only tolerate Fallon for a few minutes at a time. It's not just that he ruffled Donald Trump's hair. He's sickeningly fawning over all of his guests and it's so overt in my view that it actually makes me uncomfortable. Bleh.

So anyway. That was my evening, as it so often is: dinner. Television. More television. I keep forgetting about this Michael Bolton Valentine's Special for Netflix, though. I'm not a huge fan of Michael Bolton but it looks just cheesy enough in a self-aware way to make me interesting in watching. So I think I probably will tonight.

-- चार हजार और तीस-पाँच --


02062017-15


-- चार हजार और तीस-पाँच --


I just had lunch with Karen down at the Six-Seven restaurant at the Edgewater Hotel. I came up with a new idea today: I suggested she text me when she left rather than when she arrived, and that way, for once, I could walk down there while she drove from work, rather than having her wait for me. She texted me an ETA of 12:05 when she left at 11:50, and I left at 11:55. I saw valet drivers getting into her van when I arrived at the hotel, and there she was at the hostess podium when I got into the restaurant.

A guy at the entrance to the hotel lobby recognized me and opened the door for me. "Welcome back," he said. I guess we're becoming known regulars now.

We split the truffle macaroni and cheese from the specials menu yet again -- third time in a row now. I thought these specials rotated? I guess not very frequently. Not that I mind. That dish is spectacular. My weight is always up the next day but whatever, that's one thing for which the calories are worth it. Also, at least this time I actually ate only half the dish instead of taking three quarters of it. I left Karen's half in the dish for her, and what she didn't eat, I let the waiter take away. Good for me!

There was mercifully little talk of Donald Trump this time. We actually talked a lot about the surface street design set to replace the Alaska Way Viaduct once the tunnel finally opens. Karen consults on construction projects for accessibility and she had recently sat in on a meeting where she saw what the new streets will look like, and the way the surface streets will run into Elliott and Western Avenues on the north end are kind of weirdly convoluted. Apparently the new street will at one point become a short hump/bridge over the railroad tracks so there can be through traffic without train traffic holding things up.

It was raining rather hard this morning, but the weather was surprisingly nice for lunchtime. I took my umbrella to walk down there but never had to use it. The view of the waterfront from our table was spectacular as usual. The restaurant was busier than usual, though, and we were warned from the beginning they had only two on staff, so service took a while. It was after 12:30 by the time we got our food. It was well after 1:00 by the time I could ever start my walk back. So I really should get back to working now, I suppose.

-- चार हजार और तीस-पाँच --


12082016-10

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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02062017-24


-- चार हजार और तीस-चार --


What can I tell you today? Not much: I am actually starting this entry during my brief lunch break. Although admittedly I'm starting earlier than usual, after wolfing down my Amy's Roasted Poblano Enchiladas. ("2 servings" -- ha! As if. I guess they expect me to eat just half the box -- one enchilada -- and a side of vegetables or something? Whatever. Just the two enchiladas comes out to a combined 420 calorie lunch. Which is fine.)

The rep for Amy's sent me a bunch of frozen samples last week so I've been burning through them this week. I still have another couple of entrees and maybe three pizza pockets and at least one more pot pie in the Merchandising refrigerator. I have to keep eating them to make room for other samples coming in!

I guess there are some fried rice frozen dishes in there by some other brand. One of them was open, and Noah came and asked if I'd had it. He wanted feedback on it. I didn't even know what he's talking about. I was like, what? Why would I have anything else when there are Amy's items in there!

-- चार हजार और तीस-चार --


How about last night, then? Shobhit made dinner again. Something he'd cooked smelled awful and I was immediately sure I wouldn't like it. But I guess I should trust him more: he said it would taste fine once I mixed it with the lentils and rice, and he was totally right.

I ate while watching the first of three episodes of New Girl. Then I went to the bedroom and made some new Rufus Wainwright playlists in iTunes. He has too many albums now and has been releasing music for nearly two decades. So, like I have with the likes of Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Pet Shop Boys and more, I created playlists separated by decades. This way more of my favorite tracks can be included again. Also this morning I listened to his 2012 release, Out of the Game, and I enjoyed listening to it so much it was like hearing it for the first time. I remember liking it okay when it was released five years ago, but as of today I like it better than ever. He's released a couple of things since but that remains his most recent straightforward pop release.

-- चार हजार और तीस-चार --


02062017-23


-- चार हजार और तीस-चार --


Let's talk about the weather! Because that's what we all want, cliché small talk in a journal entry that will expire its interest almost immediately. It was totally dry yesterday. That meant I could wear my white pants! But, it's wet again today, so I had to bring my umbrella again. Shobhit texted me that it was lightly snowing at home this morning. But, here on the waterfront, it was drizzle. Back to business as usual in Seattle.

Oh! Speaking of Seattle! Our city council voted unanimously to divest $3 billion from Wells Fargo in protest of their financing the Dakota Accesss Pipeline. Seriously, I cannot tell you how thrilled I was by this news. And yesterday had some pretty shitty news (although even that resulted in some pretty positive blowback.)

The thing about this Seattle vote, though: I actually had little faith that it would actually pass, when reading about the proposal by Kshama Sawant -- my Council district representative -- in recent weeks. Seattle is one of the most liberal major cities in America, and Sawant always struck me as out-there liberal even by Seattle standards -- she's officially a Socialist. I don't mind that so much (and Shobhit resents her, as he does many people -- counter-productively, I might add -- for their support of Bernie Sanders), but it did lead me to make presumptions about her effectiveness. And my expectation for this particular vote was that our beloved liberal city would get lots of Council votes in favor but it would still not likely pass.

And then I saw the news that it was approved -- I just have to say this again -- unanimously. I was flabbergasted. The Mayor supports the measure and is expected to sign it. As I said to Shobhit, $3 billion is a lot of money but probably not much in terms of Wells Fargo coffers, but this makes a huge fucking statement. We are also the first city to make it, and I hope others follow suit.

And as much as I hate to even be fair to President Fuckwit, I always felt that the Dakota Access Pipeline would likely wind up going forward even if Clinton had won. Obama just delayed the inevitable, as far as what politicians do about this genuine American atrocity. President Fuckwit, of course, won't even pretend to empathize with any environmental concerns. Making a difference with economic leverage is the last best hope we have, really.

It's rare that something in the news thrills me so much. I'm not sure I was so happy about a news event since same-sex marriage was legalized. That was far more exciting for me, of course -- they are hardly comparable as it pertains to how they affected me personally and immediately -- but nothing else since has come this close. I am just so, so proud to be a resident of this city. I love it so much.

-- चार हजार और तीस-चार --


02062017-29

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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02062017-21


-- चार हजार और तीस-तीन --


My walk downtown from Capitol Hill this morning was interesting. You know how they talk about the snow level on the passes? 5000 feet or whatever? If the peak elevation of Capitol Hill -- apparently located in Volunteer Park -- is 444.5 feet, then I guess the snow level in Seattle was at, I don't know , 2/3 that? 296 feet? Let's make a rough estimate and say the snow level was at 300 feet. I'm kind of spit balling here. I'm no expert. Google Maps is being rather unhelpful.

But let's just pretend I'm right: 300 ft. Although I suppose I should call it the freeze level, as it did not snow any more last night. It did freeze, though, and unlike downtown, Capitol Hill retained much of yesterday's snow overnight. Much of it was turned to slush by mid-evening, and then it froze solid again. I had to walk carefully so as not to slip and fall on my ass. And then, as if by magic, just a couple blocks west of Broadway, the streets pretty much just cleared up. It was smooth sailing from then on. Or smooth walking, to be more specific.

It's pushing 40° now though. Presumably the snow even on the Hill will be gone by the time I get back there after work today.

-- चार हजार और तीस-तीन --


02062017-19


-- चार हजार और तीस-तीन --


Not much to report about last night. I processed and uploaded and captioned my snow photos. It's nice to get a new excuse for a photo set, now that I'm not flying to Los Angeles every month. God only knows when I'll fly back again. I really do want to go back to Disneyland. I just told someone recently that after going there in 1989, 1999, and 2009, I swore I would not wait another whole decade to return. We see how that's turning out. I refuse to wait until after 2019 though. I'm throwing down the gauntlet right now. I don't give a shit what Shobhit says. I'll go there with someone else if I have to.

Shobhit had dinner nearly ready when I got home. He even made what I had wanted the night before but we ended up having something else. So last night we had English muffin egg sandwiches with veggie sausage patties. He also fried onions and mushrooms to add. I was set for the evening after that. Shobhit never is. He always eats more later.

Oh: Tommy came by to pick up a W2 that had come in the mail. I texted him a photo of it on Tuesday last week and never heard back. Then he texted me two days ago asking if any mail for him had arrived. Somehow I was getting his texts and he wasn't getting mine -- he didn't get my response to that text either. Finally I DMed him on Twitter. He went to the Apple Store and got it fixed though, and we were back to texting by last night. He just came in the door briefly, talked a little bit about Please Like Me and the news that season four was now officially the last, and then left again.

Shobhit and I watched the Monday night episode of The Young Pope. We both really like it. There are only two episodes left, apparently, and they'll air on Sunday and Monday next week. Anyway, we watched that after I finished with the photos. So that was pretty much the gist of my evening.

-- चार हजार और तीस-तीन --


02062017-18

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positive energy please

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Click this!

02062017-28


Area accumulations:

Sammamish: 8.5" (7" early this morning where Scott from work lives, according to one of his emails complete with photo of ruler)
Sea-Tac Airport: 3.7"
Capitol Hill: 2"
Downtown: "an inch or two" was the best estimate I could find

The photo above is of the runners sculpture in the courtyard on the south end of the building I work in, which is wedged into the corner between the Olympic Sculpture Park to the south and Myrtle Edwards Park across the railroad tracks to the west. It's the destination I had at the end of my commute this morning, during which I took the 39 photos in the full photo set I have on Flickr. Our biggest snowfall since mid-January 2012 -- over five years ago.

You can read plenty more details about that walk, if you haven't already, in the DLU I posted this afternoon, or you can click through to the full photo set via the image above, where the photos were all captioned this evening.

Actually, the last four photos are from my walk home. By then, the snow was all but gone downtown, but there was still some on Capitol Hill. I got a couple of lovely shots from the roof of my condo complex. Although I got a lot of really great photos in the much snowier landscape of Wallace, Idaho during my trip to visit Mom and Bill in Idaho, it's been a long time since I've managed to get such pretty, snowy pictures of Seattle -- particularly downtown.
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positive energy please
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02062017-02


-- चार हजार और तीस-दो --


I rather expected to include this photo of Gina and Beth with Shobhit and me before the Rufus Wainwright concert on Saturday evening in today's DLU, and then . . . Snow Day 2017 happened. How could I not pack today's Daily Lunch Update with snow photos? These damn 24-hour news cycles! They make stuff that happened two days ago out of date so quickly!

A note on these photos: for now, they are not links to the full photo set on Flickr, because I want to be able to edit the photos in iPhoto on my iMac tonight before posting them all. You'll get a link to those in a separate entry this evening, at which time I intend to switch the photos in this entry to links to it as well. So, if you're reading this after mid-evening on Monday, then these photos probably are links to the full photo set. Before that, though, they will be just direct uploads via LiveJournal's own photo insert function.

Incidentally, this will be my twelfth photo set of a snow day in Seattle since 2004. Three of those were from 2008 alone, when we had an extraordinary week and a half of successive snow storms in late December. Of the rest, only one of them is from a day as late in the winter as February -- February 24, as a matter of fact; rather later than today's date. However, it was a mere "snow dusting," and thus today's snowfall is by far the most snow I have ever see in Seattle in February. And as of this summer I'll have lived in Seattle for nineteen years.

This has been a notably anomalous winter so far. The fall as well, as we started having our unusual number of cold snaps we've had this year before it was officially winter on December 21. But to have a snowfall like this in February feels especially odd. And although accumulation has not increased -- in fact the floor of our outdoor deck at work is totally melted away now -- it has continued to snow all morning. It's still snowing right now.

Several people did not make it in to work today. It's pretty quiet here. The courier was canceled; Peach'd lunch delivery canceled (I almost never use that anyway); schools across town canceled, which is the main reason Noah didn't make it even though he only lives in Wallingford. He had to stay home with his kids. Kevin and Scott live too far out in areas that got far more accumulation. Scott sent us an email with a ruler proving they got 7" out in Sammamish. His gazebo roof collapsed, of which he also texted me a picture.

I walked all the way to work this morning, something I think I've only done once before -- I usually walk half the way and bus the other half -- for two reasons. First, I knew from experience the buses would be wildly unreliable, and I would not be able to use One Bus Away as usual to see when next ones would arrive. All city buses were on snow routes, and I didn't even know which ones would be on different streets. I saw a #8 going up Pine this morning, and that's not a street that's usually on its route at all. I did see a couple of #49 buses as I walked, and both of them got briefly stuck, although they were eventually able to move on. The second reason was just because I wanted to: this was the first snowfall since the move to the new office. I've had plenty of opportunity to take snow pictures on several different occasions on the same route to and from work at the old location, but this time I had an all new route for such photos. How could I not want to be able to walk through Pike Place Market, for instance?

And I got several great shots in and from the Olympic Sculpture Park -- including the one below of the Space Needle, which is by far my favorite. I think it's spectacular and easily one of my all-time favorite shots of anything Seattle ever. I love that you can even see the snowflakes falling.

There's a trail that I can usually walk through that park, which opens on the park's northwest corner right to the street in front of the building I work in. But guess what? For the first time ever, the gate there was closed! I couldn't get through it. In spite of how often I stopped to take pictures, I would have gotten to work several minutes earlier were it not for that bullshit. I had to backtrack through the whole park to get back on Elliott Avenue and walk to the building that way -- but I still got the shot of the runners sculpture in front of our building that I wanted. That's the shot at the bottom of this entry. (The one at the top, above, is of the grassy area with a bunch of trees outside Seattle Central Community College, at Broadway and Pine. That one was taken before the sun had even come up, which it did while I walked.)

I wore my rain boots today with the expectation that it'll be rather slushy on my walk home. They came in handy in the snow too, of course; and the snow was pretty wet and in some areas already slushy even early this morning. I kind of loved having my clear umbrella with the white and purple stars on it. I got a nice shot of the snow that had accumulated on it during my 45-minute walk, looking up at it from beneath it.

Snow is a pain in the ass for a lot of people, but not so much for me when it's this easy to get to work without a car. I quite enjoyed that walk in this morning. It made the city unusually pretty. And this city is beautiful already!

-- चार हजार और तीस-दो --


02062017-26


-- चार हजार और तीस-दो --


I thought I might write a regular journal entry over the weekend but I never did. I did write a movie review, though, of a documentary I went to the Egyptian Theatre to see yesterday afternoon, called I Am Not Your Negro. I figured neither Shobhit nor Ivan would be interested and so I went by myself. So that was my day yesterday: going to that movie; coming back and writing the review, which turned out longer than I intended or expected -- over 1000 words.

Shobhit made homemade puris for dinner, with a potato dish he threw together and I helped him chop for. We shared it with Ivan, who happily accepted. Ivan spent a lot of the evening hanging out with us in the living room, although most of it he was watching his own Netflix movie with earbuds in on his laptop. I made him a Moscow Mule cocktail.

Shobhit and I watched last night's episode of The Young Pope, and I finally figured out that they are airing two episodes per week: one on Sunday and one on Monday. I had been thinking they seemed to be coming fast in the episodes list available on HBO Go. Until yesterday I thought it only aired on Sundays. Now I know there will be another episode tonight. I also learned it was originally an Italian production (although the character of the Pope and his assistant are Americans, played by Jude Law and Diane Keaton -- half the dialogue is still subtitled, as others in the Vatican are, of course, Italian), and when it originally aired there last fall, they released two episodes in one day each week. An odd release model I'd never heard of before.

And then I found The Nice Guys on HBO. I remembered rather liking that movie and decided to watch that next, before going to bed.

Anyway. I can't really remember what we did on Friday evening. I think we just watched more TV.

-- चार हजार और तीस-दो --


So that brings us back to Saturday, when we spent most of the day in Olympia. I had really wanted to stay the night, and Shobhit balked at that idea: he wanted to drive back home after the show. So, I only had to ask Ivan to feed the cats dinner on Saturday evening. He remembered that when he got out of bed late Saturday morning: "What's going on?" he said. And then proceeded with: "You're going to Olympia today." Yeah, we covered that. Sometimes he reiterates these things I already told him about, somewhat like a child might declare what they remembered was scheduled for the day. When we saw Ivan again when we got back home late that evening, he told us he had abandoned what tentative plans he'd had for the day because of the crappy rainy weather, and instead "I stayed home, feeling sorry for myself." I said, "That sounds fun." That made him laugh. I can never tell quite how serious he's being, when he says stuff like that.

So we left for Olympia at about 12:30. We stopped at the Costco in Federal Way because Shobhit had looked up area Costco gas prices and found that one to be the least expensive. We spent about half an hour inside and I got 1.5 liter bottles of both vodka and rum, and with Washington State's far higher alcohol taxes, they cost me probably upwards of 30% more than I used to be able to pay for them in California. (I don't know the exact percentage difference. Shobhit might.)

We got to Olympia right at about 2:30, allowing us to spend just under an hour visiting at Dad and Sherri's place. We had a fair amount of discussion about my brother, who apparently took the family van late last week and high-tailed it for . . . Mom and Bill's! He and Katina appear to be legitimately separated right now. They've both been posting bullshit drama for everyone to see on Facebook and it's been ridiculous. Naturally I am most concerned about Christopher, given his suicide attempt last September. Apparently not long ago he checked himself back into the rehabilitation clinic he'd gone to in September, but I guess they have a time limit. It sounds like perhaps he felt he had nowhere else to go. I haven't called Mom and perhaps I should. I have so little desire to get even close to getting involved. I feel bad for the kids -- especially the boys, who still live at home, but also the girls. I kind of wish that if this had to happen, it could have happened in May when I plan to visit Mom and Bill; presumably Christopher will not still be there then. But regardless of the circumstances, it would be nice to get my brother and me and Mom all together in one room again for the first time in literally fifteen years. Meanwhile, my sister-in-law is posting selfies with unusual amounts of makeup on and saying "I like the new me."

I have another close friend going through a breakup as well. These guys, by sharp contrast, have posted literally nothing about it on Facebook -- even though I suspect there's a fair chance there's just as much drama going on. But at least they have the sense not to air their dirty laundry. (That said, a few weeks ago there was a profile pic change that came across, to me at least, as both pointed and passive-aggressive.) I'm more worried about this friend than I am about my brother, to tell you the truth. I've gotten one text in four weeks and even that one was like two weeks ago.

I talked plenty about my brother with Dad and Sherri and Shobhit. I didn't bother bringing up the friend, although they do ask how said friend is doing pretty regularly. We had enough to talk about within our own family. Sherri was on the phone with Becca when we arrived, which explained why it took her a while to come out to the living room after we arrived. She later told us Becca had posted "I don't want to be alive" on Facebook, and Sherri said, "Okay, I can't just let this one pass by." And she called her. Becca apparently pretty quickly deleted the post. According to Sherri, Becca had acknowledged that she was doing exactly what she complained about her mother doing. "Good for her, for realizing that," I said.

That wasn't all we talked about, though. I'm getting a real sense for the first time of how close they are to genuine retirement. Sherri no longer works on Saturdays. I don't know how many days a week she does now, but that means it's no more than four. She still does payroll, apparently. And Dad goes in but has significantly scaled down his work duties, and has passed on a lot of his managerial responsibilities to a couple of newer cooks. It sounds like they're quickly headed toward a scenario where they really only go in to make sure things are running as they should.

Sherri will turn 65 this year. She said that there was a day when only three things came in the mail, and they all had to do with how old she's getting. She listed them off specifically but I can't remember now what a single one of them was. My telling you about it would be a lot more effective if I could remember, wouldn't it?

When Dad found out we wouldn't be spending the night after all, they decided to go to Shelton to see a movie with Jennifer and Eric. They seem to hang out with them a lot. Dad mentioned that they were having a pretty social day that day. He had brunch with Aunt Raenae and Toni Marie; had us visit briefly; then the movie. And they got up to leave for that movie before we even needed to leave the house to head over to Gina and Beth's. We were there only for a few more minutes, though. I have a key and was able to lock the door behind me.

-- चार हजार और तीस-दो --


So we got to the house Beth was apparently still having built when she first met Gina about a year and a half ago, so I had never been there before. The last time I went to Gina's house, she was still living in Leslie's house in Dad and Sherri's neighborhood, just a couple of blocks away. Not anymore. We drove to what looked like out in the middle of nowhere, about four miles from Evergreen State College. It felt like we were driving a back road through woods until we reached their cookie cutter community of houses, with unusually narrow streets apparently that way for some reason that had something to do with wetland runoff. Their driveways are made with a special concrete that water can seep through, Beth said.

Their house was quite nice, and almost shockingly spacious. David is still living with them, but he wasn't home. Soon enough we were off to dinner. Beth offered to let us follow her to the sub sandwich place that had a $2 off coupon on the printed concert tickets, so we went there first to get a sub that we took home with us. But then we went to a wonderful downtown Olympia diner called King Solomon's Reef. Gina said it's usually full of "smelly Olympians" -- uh, okay -- but it didn't quite seem that way when we were there.

They had plenty of vegetarian options, including a house-made veggie burger and vegan chili tots. That's what Shobhit and I shared, along with the cup of tomato soup we got with the burger. I would absolutely go back to that place, which they said had been there a while, but I had never even heard of. At one point Beth asked how hard it is to get a job there, and the waitress said it was pretty hard. Hundreds of resumes any time there's an opening. Apparently they offer health insurance and paid vacation. I was stunned. How do they afford that?

And then, on to the main event: the Rufus Wainwright concert, at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, which was just a few blocks walk from there. "Concert" is only a barely accurate term, as it turned out -- Rufus only performed for 65 minutes; had only a piano and a guitar and no backing band; and the program had an intermission before he even came on stage.

The event was a fundraiser for a nonprofit program in Olympia called Pizza Klatch, which provides pizza and a safe space for queer youth in area public schools. Before intermission, we heard from a lady who served as emcee; Pizza Klatch's new-ish (since April 2016) Executive Director; and two kids from area schools came to speak: a trans boy named Elliott and a bisexual girl whose name I can't recall. Elliott shared his story of coming out as trans at one of the Pizza Klatch meetings and it made me teary-eyed. They both spoke a little too fast but they were clearly nervous and adorable.

The intermission didn't take too long to come around, though, and then Rufus came out. I took a little while earlier in the day to figure this out, but I have seen him in concert twice before, both of them in 2007, the year he released Release the Stars: with Shobhit at the Triple Door on April 22, and with Hadley at the Moore Theatre on July 29. It's literally been a decade since I last saw him, though, so this was pretty exciting.

Even though his shows in '07 were spectacular and he had backing bands with him then, I was every bit as impressed this time around. Few people can command the stage on their own the way he did. When we were leaving, Shobhit said, "It took him a few songs to find his rhythm," and I was having none of that. "No. You're wrong," I said.

I don't know how many tracks he sang, but it was a bit over an hour, and he even led us all in a singalong of Leonard Coen's "Hallelujah" (which he sang his own cover of for the Shrek soundtrack in 2001) at the very end of the evening.

I was a little bummed that Beth wasn't able to see the show, in the end: she wasn't feeling well and left during the intermission. She'd apparently even been in bed all day until just before we got to their house, and was going to try and stick out the entire evening. Gina, saying Beth is very stubborn, said she had insisted on giving Gina the keys to their car and taking the bus home. Shobhit was understandably taken a little aback by this: Beth could have driven herself home and we could have taken Gina home in our car. But Shobhit was in the bathroom when Beth left, and when she hugged me goodbye I did not realize she was literally going out to catch a bus.

Beth assured me she will make sure she and Gina come up to visit in Seattle more often, which I was glad to hear. I can't even tell you how many times Gina has suggested she'd come up and visit and later canceled. Maybe Beth will make my sister more reliable!

Even as great as Rufus was, I got drowsy during the concert and kept falling asleep. This happens all too often and it's very annoying. I wonder if I should talk to my doctor about it. I don’t know if it might be just part of getting older or if it's diet -- I'd had a pretty heavy dinner -- or what. I did snooze in the car maybe half the drive home after the show. I love having someone else to drive, whether it's Shobhit or a bus driver. I hate driving, and driving when I get drowsy like that is truly dangerous.

Regardless of that, and regardless of the odd nature of the show (Gina remarked on how it was the oddest concert experience she'd ever had, given its presentation as a fundraiser more than a concert -- complete with a section of the evening dedicated to getting donations from audience members; they raised over $11,000 over those few minutes alone), I had a really great time in Olympia on Saturday. And it was even fun with Beth, until she had to leave. We get there early enough to check out some of the silent auction items before the show, which none of us bid on (though Gina did buy raffle tickets). At one point, just to amuse herself, we were leaning over a railing on the third floor and Beth just dropped her sheet of paper with her auction number on it, so it fluttered down to hit some schmoozers on the head. When we made our way back down to retrieve it, apparently one of the women she'd hit said, "You did that on purpose, didn't you!" And Beth said, "Yep!"

So there you have it. My weekend in just a bit more than a nutshell.

-- चार हजार और तीस-दो --


02062017-32

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positive energy please