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The Literary Exhibitionist

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positive energy please

-- चार हजार बारह --

I guess I'll start with this: you may have noticed that my final two DLUs last week finally did away with the roman numerals in the formatted lines separating sections of my entries. The reason? The formatting, trying to show numerals with a horizontal line above only one of the characters but not the rest, was becoming way too much of a pain in the ass.

So, instead of roman numerals, and instead of the Arabic numerals we are all used to in the West for numbers in general -- I decided to change them to Arabic writing. Anyone dying to know what was written out in Arabic could simply have copied and pasted them into Google after the word "translate," and seen what they read: four thousand ten. Four thousand eleven. Simple.

It did occur to me that the very existence of Arabic writing might weird some people out. And guess who it did bother? The one person to ask me about it: Shobhit. He texted me just asking why my entries had Arabic in them. I explained. His final text just read, Please don't use Arabic.

I chose not to ask him why. I know exactly why: because his Hindu background gives him an unreasonable amount of prejudice against anything Muslim, and by extension Arabic. I had no interest in engaging him in an argument about it. Pick your battles, that kind of thing. I mean, it's a fucking language. A script. There's nothing inherently malevolent about the simple writing out of numbers in script form. All I was doing was playing with a concept.

I already intended to switch it to Hindi sometime this week anyway. That's what you see in today's entry. At first I thought I might continue with the Arabic for one or two days, but after that text exchange, not doing so would likely have been taken as deliberate antagonization, and devolved into bullshit. It's not that important to me. I don't have to take some stand about this (although, clearly, I still feel compelled to mention it). So, Hindi it is. A separator I can still use to keep counting up, but I think I'm finally done with the Roman numerals. Turns out they're just too much of a pain in the ass past the number four thousand, or

-- which, even like that, I can't format so it shows up the same way in the middle of a paragraph and I have to separate it out into its own line. Because I can only type it like that by using two separate lines. As I said: annoying!

Given that Hindi is Shobhit's native language, it actually is a more appropriate choice anyway. I was just using the Arabic as a transition.

Hmm. Maybe going forward, I should only spell out numbers in Hindi sometimes, and insert hidden messages other times. There's an idea. I could write something like, "Shobhit is a silly head." Or "Donald Trump is a lizard."

-- चार हजार बारह --

Shobhit, by the way, continues to obsess with his Social Review numbers -- just as he did before moving away. He knows full well he's already way ahead by default for the Social Review of Winter that I'll post in March. I told him as much and he just replied, "It doesn't matter."

So, he went to The Cuff for a drink around 4:00 on Friday, and asked me to join him and get a drink on my walk home. The Cuff is all of a block and a half from our condo. This qualifies as going out and doing something social, so he gets a point for the day. I ordered a Black Opal. I even showed the guy the recipe on my phone, because as seems to happen every other time I order one anywhere, the bartender did not know how to make it. "So it's basically a Long Island," he said. Close, yes. He then made one that tasted really good with the very first sip, and increasingly syrupy with each successive sip.

The Cuff's bar area is pretty damn old-school, a place that really wants to scream THIS IS A GAY BAR with all of its décor. There are a couple of TV monitors playing slide shows of photos of nude men, some of them with erections. So they play porn, basically. It doesn't show anyone actually fucking, which makes it pretty soft-core, vanilla porn, but porn nonetheless. The thing is, they were only going through like three photos, so looking up at that gets boring pretty quickly. The older gay man at sitting at the bar next to us was instantly more interesting. And that guy was not very interesting.

I finished my drink and Shobhit and I walked home together, where we shared the sample vegan sandwiches I brought home from work for dinner. And we watched some TV, I think. Or maybe read a bit. I can't remember. I do remember I got very tired very early and was in bed by 10:20. I went to bed even earlier on Saturday night, at 10:03. I have no idea why I was so tired.

-- चार हजार बारह --

Anyway! Speaking of those sample sandwiches -- they were by a company called "Snackrilege" that sent our Deli department vegan sandwiches. The bag of samples even came with a pentagram sticker, which I posted a picture of on Friday, alongside one of the sandwiches. I only noticed today that what appear at first glance to be symbols at each of the five points of the pentagram are actually letters, which spell out the word VEGAN.

I guess it's a fun way to add fuel to the fire for conservatives who want to equate vegetarianism and veganism with godlessness; God knows (ha!) I grew up with values that regarded any such symbolism as straight up satanic. Which these guys clearly are not. Quite the opposite, since they are just having fun with cultural ideas but with the mission of preserving animal welfare.

Ivan, as it happens, is a semi-practicing Wiccan, which also uses these types of symbols. I thought he might like the sticker, so I brought it home to him. I honestly wasn't sure if he'd do anything with it or ultimately just throw it away. When he said he was going to stick it to his bedroom door, I didn't even take that very seriously. But then, he actually did it: his bedroom door now has the pentagram seal of Snackrilege on it.

I truly don't care. Still, I felt compelled to tell Ivan that if my mother ever visited and saw that, she would have a conniption. She'd probably be convinced I am living with a Satanist. Which I am not. Ivan did ask me if my mom has ever been there, and I informed him -- nope. Mom has never once visited me in Seattle, actually, and it is unlikely she ever will. Ivan was very surprised. In retrospect, I'm not sure why he should be: it sounds to me like his parents have never visited him either.

I did wonder how it would have come across had that sticker been up when Dad and Sherri were over for New Year's, especially in light of Ivan's apparent (but, I really do believe, likely unintentional) coldness toward them. It probably wouldn't have helped.

-- चार हजार बारह --


-- चार हजार बारह --

Saturday, Shobhit, Ivan and I all went to a movie together. I had asked Ivan about a week before if he had seen Rogue One and if he wanted to join me when I inevitably went to see it a second time. He always prefers evening showtimes and when he messaged me Friday night if I wanted to go Saturday night, I informed him I had plans in the evening, and the only realistic showtime I could do on either day this weekend was 1:30. I asked if that was too early for him and never got a response.

I brought the movie up again when Ivan woke up late Saturday morning, and he asked if I wanted to go that evening, as though I hadn't ever sent that message. (Facebook Messenger indicates when the person has seen the message, and he had.) I said again that I had plans -- a birthday party to go to -- and then said if he preferred the evening, I was willing to wait another week. I was in no hurry. But he looked at the clock and said okay, let's do 1:30.

Shobhit suggested we all walk down there together. Ivan was like, "Why would we want to do that?" I said, "It's good exercise." I mean, it's only a mile. Ivan was seated at the dining table eating his lunch, and like the oddball that he is, several minutes later he suddenly said, "Why don't we all walk down at 1:00?", as if he'd suddenly come up with the idea. That was exactly what Shobhit had already said. But okay, let's do that!

Then when it was time to go, like usual, Shobhit waited until later than the last minute to get his fucking shit together. At one point Ivan literally went out the door, then walked back in to say, "What's going on?" because Shobhit was still looking for his god damned wallet. As I said to Shobhit later, doing that shit to me is one thing, but doing it to others too is patently rude.

It all worked out fine in the end. The trailers were in the middle of their run when we arrived, which I usually hate being late to, but in this case the trailers were almost exclusively for movies that looked like steaming piles of shit so we really didn't miss anything. And we still got very good seats, albeit barely.

When Rogue One ended, neither Shobhit nor Ivan seemed particularly impressed. They didn't seem to hate it, either, but both had a relatively indifferent response. Ivan declared that the end was "weird," which I found to be an odd assessment. "It ends right where Episode IV begins," I said. He was just like, "Oh." And this from the guy who recently watched both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi at home with me, and declared the film series "the greatest story ever told." (George Stevens would likely beg to differ, but there's no real reason for Ivan to know that.)

And honestly? I still stand by the B+ I gave it, but even I would say that it likely will not stand the test of time nearly to the degree that the films that are part of the main series do.

When we filed out of the theatre, Ivan turned and announced, "I'm going to go home on my own. I have some places to go to." And that was fine, as Shobhit and I then went to Target.

-- चार हजार बारह --

By the time we got home, we had just an hour or so before it was time to go again. Just as I had last year, I went to Lynn's birthday party, at AFK Tavern, a gamer hangout in Everett. This year, though, I was able to get a ride in a car. Shobhit drove.

Shobhit was in L.A. last year. I had to look up the journal entry to be reminded that I actually took the bus up there, and had planned to bus back, but when I suddenly realized I had all of ten minutes until the last bus back left and needed to hustle, another guest offered me a ride back. I can't remember the people who drove me back, but I do know they were not at the party this year.

In fact, the party was notably less attended this year, although that makes sense. Last year, as it was for myself and several people I know, was a milestone birthday: forty. Of all the people I know born in 1976, Lynn's birthday comes first. So as of now (today, actually: it's now her actual birthday -- last year's party actually landed on the Saturday of her party, her birthday moved to Monday this year due to last year being a leap year), Lynn is the first one to be forty-one.

Lynn and Zephyr arrived more than half an hour late to their own party. Shobhit and I arrived first. I didn't think there was any need to leave home any later than 5:30, figuring we'd arrive at 6:10 at the earliest and even that would be fairly early compared to most. But Shobhti drives fast and we arrived pretty much at 6:00 on the dot -- and were thus the first to arrive. We asked if the reserved section was for Lynn's birthday party, and it was.

The next person to arrive, several minutes later, was a thirtysomething named Catherine, who goes by Daphyn, because that's how Lynn's oldest son, Jordan, used to mispronounce her name when she was little. She arrived and immediately said, "Hi, Matthew." I didn't recognize her at all. She used to be Lynn's stepdaughter, the eldest of two daughters of Jim, the guy who eventually became the second of Lynn's divorces. (She and Zephyr have been together well more than a decade, and Lynn later explained the only real reason they have not yet married is because his financial aid is better as long as he's legally single.) Daphyn informed me that she and I were email pen-pals for about a year in the late nineties, when she was still a teenager. I don't doubt it, but I have zero recollection of it. Me and my fucking memory. What a pain in the ass. She didn't take it personally.

Shobhit and I ate way too much, splitting a small bowl of tomato basil soup that was delicious; an appetizer of deep fried ravioli that was excellent; a veggie burger with a house made hazelnut patty that I liked a lot and Shobhit declared not great; and a fairly large salad. I also had two cocktails. Oh, and a slice of chocolate cake. By Sunday morning my weight had broken 147 lbs. Fuck.

It was worth it, though! Lynn and I, who have known each other since meeting via an intera-high school Spanish class pen pal program (which means for the first two years we knew each other we conversed exclusively in Spanish), do not see each other nearly often enough. We certainly will again during my Birth Week, but we should try to get together before then, and certainly not wait yet again another nine months until her next birthday. I did get another photo of us together. I asked Daphyn to take that for me, actually. Lynn looks great in it. I'm leaning awkwardly in my chair. I should have taken off the hoodie.

-- चार हजार बारह --

Ivan picked up an extra shift yesterday, it turns out, so that must have been why he didn't go for seeing the movie then instead of on Saturday afternoon. It also left most of the day for Shobhit and me to have to ourselves, although right before Ivan left for his swing shift at work, he suggested we watch an episode of an Australian show on Netflix he had read about and wanted to watch: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. I thought it was all right. I liked the characters. Shobhit found it slow and predictable (it actually was predictable). Ivan said it "wasn't too bad." Real vital information about my Sunday afternoon I'm sharing here.

But Shobhit, ever vigilant about getting his social points, suggested we walk to the library to pick up the books he had on hold. I have historically gone ahead and counted going on walks with Shobhit as social activity. But I especially would count it if we stopped at a coffee shop, which I also suggested. We did that after walking to the library in the rain.

Something rather new happened on our walk to the library. I was under my umbrella, and still felt a drop of the rain -- which was falling unusually heavily. There was a small hole in the umbrella! And I'll tell you why this is significant. I have a long history of losing umbrellas -- on buses, on planes, at stores, at banks, you name it. By some miracle, for possibly the first time ever, I have managed to keep this umbrella in my possession until it actually wore out! I was amazed. And, I guess I need to buy a new umbrella.

Shobhit is also obsessed with coupons. Like, seriously obsessed. When we go anywhere, he wants me to check if there's a coupon for the place from the Chinook Book (printed or in my app), in the Groupon app, or a deal on Yelp. Every single time. And, he had a Chinook Book coupon torn out for a free snack of up to $4 value with the purchase of a drink at Café Ladro. So, after the library, we walked straight up to the Café Ladro on 15th. He got a coffee, I got a chai, and I ate a savory tomato and cheese croissant. That turned out to be my lunch. I also had a rather light dinner. Happily, I was back down to 145.7 lbs this morning. Hopefully I can keep that trend reversed.

We spent the evening watching the Golden Globes. I hate Jimmy Fallon's fawning of celebrities so much that I never watch The Tonight Show, I find it so cloying and annoying. I was prepared to be annoyed by him as host last night. And then he offered what might be the show's best cold open ever. It was awesome -- although only awesome, really, if you have seen La La Land. I have, though, and I truly loved it.

And I loved Mery Streep's speech perhaps even more, with her takedown of Lizard President without ever even mentioning his name. Predictably, President-Elect Whiny Bitch took to Twitter this morning to hurl insults and call her "overrated." It still stuns me that this country elected such an unrepentant douche bag.

-- चार हजार बारह --


2 transmissions complete or positive energy please