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rufus snow white - The Literary Exhibitionist
rufus snow white

-- 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 They make stuff that happened two days ago out of date so quickly!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 --


-- 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 --




positive energy please