[1 Aug 2021> Flashing back to the final days of the millenium, picking up from post #903...]
October 3, 1999 – Tucson
Went to my first day of a screen writing class that I’m taking through the U of A. Max is also taking the class. The teacher (Howard Allen) is a pretty interesting guy that seems to know what he is talking about. Already gained some insights into script writing. Their was about 12 or 15 other people in the class, most of them bored housewives, albeit, somewhat accomplished (seemingly). Very interactive class, right off the bat, we were doing role-playing exercises . . . taking a partner that we didn’t know (I had some older Native American Woman named Cecilia) and doing a series of experiments to demonstrate the effects of eye-contact. Then of course, we all had to introduce ourselves, and he would ask a series of questions, who our high school mascot was, what our favorite moves were, whether we were married, how long we had lived in Tucson, etc. so involved that he only really got to about half the people.
It has inspired me to start writing a script to practice my new-found knowledge. Since I am a short-timer at work, I spent a whole day writing at work (after all what are they going to do, fire me?) and wrote 25 pages a script dealing with natural selection in the modern world with a little indecent exposure. I also want to write a story (inspired by Planet of the Apes) about : "What if time reached the apex of it’s expansion and started to go backwards, so we were de-evolving." Not only that, but what if we only had a memory of things to come, and not things past. . . I thought about this, but this would be really hard. Actually, for a certain number of people, cusp-babies, they would be born when time was going forward, and then time would reverse in their lifetime, so they would still have the memory of what’s to come that would lead to their dwindling mental capacity of their childhood, until they slowly became babies and, came close to their mothers, then went into the wombs of their mothers. The next generation would not have the memory of their birth, and would lead towards it (or would it make more sense to have the memory of your “past” (getting younger) but would instantly forget your past “future” when you were older. And your whole life you would reconcile, try to make sense of the past events that would lead to your deterministic birth. And actually you wouldn’t really remember your birth, only as much as you actually remember now, you would have vague recollections and as things drew nearer, you would begin to remember more and more, and you would have more and more precise memories of the next day, etc. [not sure what happened to this 'story'... the screenplay we were talking about ("Origin of Virga") we finished but never did anything with.]
For people like me that keep a journal, you could consult it to find out what would happen... though actually, this would lead to all sorts of contradictions, because you would not have the free-will to alter what had already happened to you. As I wrote a journal entry I would be able to reflect on this, and what would happen if, for example, I knew that Kevin was going to un-die, and I got increasingly sadder as the day came, and then when he was un-dead, things went normal, and then I helped him and he did indeed get better. Food for thought.
Went climbing on Saturday. Went to the Ridgeline, it was nice to climb for a change. Beautiful weather, blue sky, crisp air. I led two little sport climbs that were probably 5.7’s. [our Bedder-½] did good on them though she was scared on the first one. By the second climb, more people had arrived including annoying sport climbers that were just making all sorts of noise and being obnoxious. So we and hiked up some nob and ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Exercise for the week
Mon: Bike 8 miles, ran 2 miles, legs
Tues: Bike 8 miles, run 2 miles, 30 min on treadmill, back and abs
Wed: Run 8.7 miles
Thurs: Bike 8 miles, run 2 miles, 15 min on rowing machine, 15 min on bike, chest and abs
Fri: Run 2 miles, 30 min on stairmaster, shoulders, arms
Sat: hiking and climbing
Sun: walk 2 miles, 10 min on NordicTrack, 24 min on stat bike, 15 min on rowing machine, legs, abs
October 7, 1999 – Tucson
Sitting here at my last day at Bell+Howell, with nothing really to do but
e-mail myself this journal entry. So yah, went climbing on saturday, sunday did some cleaning
and bought a few shirts for my new job, went to borders and bought a few
books . . . screenplays actually, I got Pi which I haven't seen, and Fargo which I have seen. Already read Pi. I kind of just like reading the
screenplay format. . . now, now, don't get too idealistic. I am working on
a screenplay that I will have no problem handing over and letting some
production crew have their way with. Back to Pi, it will be cool to see the
movie now to see how it actually turned out. I would've guessed that it
wouldn't have been such a success. . . if it was me, I would've said the screenplay had potential, but needed a lot more development, a lot more character arc, a lot more plot development. But maybe they pulled it off.
My screenplay, which I think I will call "The Offering" is coming along. I kind of hit a wall after the court scene was over, after Vivian acquits Dana. But then I figured it was a chance to add a whole different element, kind of like how the Crying Game or Trainspotting starts almost a whole new movie about halfway through the movie. Almost like there would be an intermission. And just when you think they are irrelated, Dana comes back into the picture, falling from the sky in a parachute. Literally. After he is acquitted, Luiz slowly makes amends and earns Vivian's trust back. Vivian might actually have a short-lived fling with Dana just show the intrigue dissipates. Meanwhile Luiz is taking an interest in Vivian's life, something he never really did before. He goes out with her on some of her research projects. Another twist that I threw in, based on my experience with that biology teacher at Foothill college, is that the evolutionary biology teacher commits suicide right after he finishes grading the final exams.
***Something to add to the script: Lizard push-ups. When Vivian is showing Luiz "nature" and explaining evolutionary concepts, they see a lizard doing "push-ups". Vivian explains that the lizard is using parallax to measure distance, showing the "sub-conscious" relationship between "animals" and physics. Luiz is impressed that lizards can do physics in their head. Questions how this would evolve.
There will be a lot of discussion about evolution in this, and here's the finale. So after Vivian show's Luiz "hers", then he has to show her "his". He takes her up to Kitt Peak, she hasn't seen a falling stars. He could even explain to her how they use parallax to measure the distance to stars,
just like the lizard does. The forces of nature are building, the tension is mounting, it's rainy season and it hasn't rained yet even though it's getting hotter and hotter. Hasn't been three days in a row where the dew point has been above 55 degrees. Monsoons are a brewing but never spill. So they go up on Kitt Peak and the cloud build up prevents them from seeing anything. They see a few things, but then it starts to build up, and then suddenly a lightning bolt crashes from the sky and is almost funneled to the observatory. They are unhurt because they are effectively in a Faraday cage (though maybe St. Elmo's fire enters the observatory and hovers around just for the Hollywood effect.) The power has gone out, and more lightning strikes. They sit in the dark and well, and of course they get together. It would be really cool to have 5-10 minutes of darkness while this is going on. So we just hear them. Things are lit by an occasional flash of lightning. The sky gradually gets oranger, almost like it is sunrise.
***He shows her the Milky way, looking through the spiral arms of the milky way. . . wants to show her the Sculptor Globular Cluster it's near the Magellanic clouds that are joined by that Magellanic bridge. . .there's the Carina globular cluster, Fornax Globular Cluster, and there's Phoenix, way off in the distance, actually, these are all in the Southern sky, so really they would be looking at Sextans, and Ursa Minor and Draco . . . Betelgeuse, BellaTrix, Sireus, and of course you would have the cheeseball part where she asks him if he has ever discovered a star, and if he did, what would he call it, and he says Vivian, then says, no, I would call it Viviana (because that's her real name)
Back to them getting it on on the floor of the dark observatory. "Is it almost sunrise?" No. the sky is getting orange. He says it's city lights, "light pollution", complains about how it effects his work. It seems lighter now than it was . . . your eyes are adjusting. . . . they continue to make love. . . . "what's that smell?" Smell smoke, get up and down the mountain and there is a fire raging . . . they run to escape from it. Scrambling down the mountain. . . . bushwhacking. . . . then a plane comes and dumps that red powdery stuff. Another plane comes and paratrooper fall from the sky, one of these is Dana who leads them to safety. And then he goes off, back into the fire, end of story.
***Somewhere in there, gotta throw in the discussion about, Vivian questioning the exact moment, or motivation, when evolution started, how and why did clusters of amino acids want to survive.
Anyway, back to real life. . . . real life? There is no real life. Saw American Beauty, which was interesting, but definitely not a classic to be remembered. Interesting characters, but just lacking in spark and development, no suspense. [... which is interesting, cuz now we consider it a classic + rewatch it all the time, or at least use to before all this shit about Kevin Spacey came out. What we remember about seeing this in the theatre is bringing our Indian co-worker who had only been in the U.S. for a few days (it was common for companies to hire Indians and pay for them to come out to work on projects, especially w/ Y2K) + the whole time we were thinking how strange American Beauty must of seemed to this Indian co-worker...]. Went to the climbing gym on Monday night. I climbed a 5.10 with no falls. But then on the steep overhanging walls, I would struggle with a 5.7. Bedder-½ seems to be more interested in climbing, but then again she also gets frustrated easily so I imagine this little outburst of climbing activity, will be what it is, an outburst. She doesn't trust her left shoulder enough to start improving, and it's probably not
worth it to risk injury. I could go either way. It would be fun to get back into it, but only if Bedder-½ was going to get really into it and start improving so we would have a lot more options about where to go. Let's just say that I'm not about to go out and buy new ropes and webbing quite yet.
Just been dilly-dallying my last week of work. Working on the script, working on an article that I wrote for a Bell+Howell internal newsletter. It was kind of fun, I got to be a little more creative than usual. I'll attach it here. It's a good summary of what we've doing here at
Bell+Howell, so I guess that would be appropriate:
Yipee-Ki-Yay! The Tucson Posse of Codin' Cowboys!
Deep in the heart of the Sonoran desert of Arizona, a band of renegade software developers is busy at work for Bell+Howell. Who are these Tucson cowboys and what exactly are they doing besides enjoying the perennial sunshine and the horizon to horizon visibility?
This ragged, yet rugged tribe of developers formerly known as C.O.P.E. introduced the world to database-driven inserting for mail processing systems using PDF (Processing Data File format first established in 1990) and 12K technology. In 1997, Bell+Howell corralled and branded these Ralph Anderson-led renegades, harnessing their talents and works. With the acquisition of C.O.P.E. came the cutting-edge 12K inserter, the modern 12K Machine Control, the man-machine interface to the 12K (the Console), and the host of Supervisor applications. Bell+Howell also inherited the PDF (forerunner to IDF, or IntellaSert Data File) technology and the surviving outpost of desert denizens to continue the on-going development. Under the B+H banner, the Tucson group has renovated the Supervisor and Console applications to run on the Windows NT platform, and has continued to provide innovative enhancements. To give you an idea of the breadth of these applications, the Console program alone has over one million lines of code (in C++)-and this is baked beans compared to the Supervisor! The Supervisor is synonymous for a suite of 15-20 separate stand-alone programs that perform supervisory mailroom functions. This host of applications includes the JobSetup Manager, the Materials Manager, the Reader Code Map set-up utility, the User Security Manager, the IDF Manager, the IDF Converter, the Manifest Manager, various report generators, a database utility program, the Site Manager, etc., etc. . . . more applications than you can shake a stick at! Enhancements and additional programs are continuously being added, such as the recent Print Verification program, which uses IDF data to verify that a print job printed correctly, or the File Destination Updater, which updates the final destination of mailpieces using external information such as ANR or ICS files.
The current focus of the Tucson group is to expand the IntellaSert horizon to reach other types of non-12K inserters. The Lynx project is remodeling the 12K Console to handle both the 12K and DCS-based inserters. The Supervisor is also being enhanced to interface to the new Lynx Console and provide centralized management for both 12K and DCS-based inserters. There are a few other spin-offs currently underway in Tucson that have, or will result in plug-ins to implement specific IntellaSert features on non-12K Inserters. The Chameleon project resulted in the Database-Driven Inserting Option product, which attaches to AUI-based inserters and provides an "intelligent" barcode replacement system, enabling database-driven inserting using IntellaSert data. The Final Check Option is the product of the Eyespy project. The FC Option serves as a final destination updater/verifier for AUI-based inserters, facilitating mailpiece tracking and integrity. Project Calamari's purpose is to create a plug-in that will
utilize a Scitex inkjet address printer to allow closed-face envelope printing on AUI-based inserters.
Another Tucson development, e-Route, is a major player in Bell+Howell's IMPACT Internet Billing offering that provides a repository for billing delivery options. e-Route determines whether a customer will receive a bill printed, through an Internet billing service, or both. Version 2.0 of e-Route is currently being written in Java to take advantage of thin client
compatibility via net browsers and multi-platform support to enhance the capabilities of e-Route.
Project Mosquito's endeavor is to adapt some of the IntellaManager features to the IntellaSert Supervisor application, providing familiar IntellaManager functionality to sites containing both traditional AUI-based and Lynx-based inserters. Mosquito will permit the Supervisor to monitor machine status and production, and also generate valuable reports, on BH 4000, BH 6000, BH
12K and ISMC-based equipment.
Geckos are patient and stoic nocturnal reptiles that cling to the patio walls of our Sonoran desert dwellings eating unwanted bugs. Project Gecko is an ambitious collaboration between Tucson and Durham that will incorporate all the greatest hits of the IntellaManager and IntellaSert Supervisor into one revolutionary mega-Jamboree of applications programmed in Java.
With the recent re-structuring of the B+H MMT Software Engineering division, the future of the Tucson posse will concentrate more on component level architecture and development, while active product architecture and development will take place at the Durham headquarters. It is hoped that this shake-up will continue to foster a unified and flourishing collaboration that will promote further progressive advances and also preserve the Tucson legacy as a desert stronghold.
October 10, 1999 – Tucson
After my last day at B+H, hopped a plane to Vegas. It just happened that [R, M and K’s flight from Oakland came in at the same time, so we met them at the airport, and then met [S + S] and they gave us a ride (they were staying with S’s aunt, so they had a car). As we were walking to our rooms at the Golden Nugget, we ran into the other members of the [F] clan, first [V + J], and their son V.J. V is the oldest brother, and J is his wife of almost 50 years who talks like Katherine Hepburn. We then ran into [D, D + T] [...]. We all had dinner at the GN and then, I don’t know, I guess we must have gambled, oh yah, we went to Binions and I won some money there playing craps mostly.
I was up early the next morning so I went to gamble and lost everything I had won the night before and then some. Mostly at 21. Met everyone for breakfast and then went to the Strip. The logistics of getting 13 people with different agendas to go to the same place at the same rate was pretty much a clusterfuck. We were crawling along at a snail's pace, constantly re-grouping, standing around, debating what to do, where to go. We started off at the Luxor and did the rounds, to Mandalay bay (which I had never been to before and was pretty nice, kind of Southeast Asia flair, but not an outwardly blatant and tacky “theme” like most of the others.) The “beach” area seemed really cool but we couldn’t see most of it as we weren’t guests. Then to NY NY where some of us rode the roller coaster and I got felt sick afterwards (though nothing like last time where I threw up my corned beef sandwich). I think we ended up Paris, but I’m not sure how we got there. People were starting to get pretty antsy at that point. Wanting to break off from the main group. We went back to the GN and stood in line to eat buffet food to “go with the flow”. Afterwards we cabbed it back to Rio. Tried to get into the rooftop lounge but S was not dressed appropriately and more so was just being an idiot and I just think the bouncers didn’t like him. S was in his prime this weekend. What a beaut. We tried Club Rio and same thing. Vegas is getting dressier and dressier. A lot of people dressed to the hilt. Lots of girls with boob jobs, lots of cleavage and fake tans. We just hung out at the bar and I talked to VJ mostly. [...]. Some guy at the table over was doing a strip tease, taking off his shorts and mooning people. Some sort of drama was going on with S and S that I (and the others) were just trying to ignore. Went and gambled and I won everything I had lost that morning and then some. We cabbed it back around 2 a.m., but VJ and T stayed. [...]
Woke up early and went to the spa to workout which helped get rid of that Vegas feeling a little. But still feeling slightly unhealthy, lungs and eyes burning from the smoke, eyes swollen from lack of sleep . . . . most of us went back to the strip, this time to the Venetian which was incredible, complete with replicas of the canals and St. Mark’s square, etc. We just walked around and gawked and got some coffee and looked at Marilyn Monroe’s dresses. Then we went to the Mirage and Cesar's, half of us shopped, and me, Ro K and V went to gamble at Cesar's and we all won at craps, though I only won $25, wasn’t picking numbers quite right.
Back to the Forum and then a cab to Mandalay beach where we ate at Wolfgang Pucks overpriced joint. Had to sit next to S and he was annoying the hell out of me. [...]. We put K in a cab back to GN and Bedder-½ and I went off on our own to see the Bellagio because we didn’t really get to see it the day before. The fountains at night were even more incredible. Mesmerizing... a dance of water, shooting, I don’t know, 200 hundred feet into the sky. All to Frank Sinatra, or Pavaroti, . . . all different shows. Ran into V and T again and headed back to VJ in another crazy Vegas cab. The Vegas cabbies are complete beauts. It seemed every one of them was on amphetamines or speed and was racist against Chinese. We met everyone and we all went to the Main Station and went to some bar that had a blues band with a lumpy singer with a huge shelf-ass big enough to hold a whole set of encyclopedias. She wore a full-body skin tight jump suit which accentuated this feature. But boy could she sing the blues. She was teasing this one white boy in the audience, then she started to go into this routine where she would jiggle her shelf-butt cheeks up and down, they were solid muscle. She could do them one at a time even. It was incredible. Then she singled R out from the distance and saying all sorts of lewd, playing things with him. It was hilarious.
Gambled after that and it was all downhill from there. Basically lost all that I had won and then some. Isn’t that always how it goes? You win up until the last night, and then you lose it all? Oh well, it was fun. Had to leave early the next morning. Said goodbye to everyone, cabbed it with D, T and D since their flight was at the same time as us. Then went through Southwest hell once again. I’m getting really sick of flying. I think the next trip we take we’ll be in the car. Air travel is getting more and more crowded, and flights are later and later, it’s just a mess.
Home sweet home. Start IBM manana.
October 17, 1999 – Tucson
First week at IBM. Don’t have a computer and no assignment so I don’t really know what to make of it yet. My office mate is this older guy named Thomas Moe. He’s kind of paranoid, pyscho and bitter. He was telling me some story about how he adopted a 16-year old kid and then maced him because he would not obey. He lived in a teepee in Flagstaff for ten years, and get this, he’s from Custer, South Dakota of all places. Weird, I can picture the house that his parents live in on Sylvan Lake road. Most of the other writers seem fairly interesting. All I’ve done is read through existing manuals and get acquainted with the Adept SGML editor and other tools we will be using.
Wednesday Bedder-½ was working at home on Wednesday and heard someone trying to break in through the Kitchen. She wasn’t sure what it was at first and it went away before she could figure out what it was to call 911. I checked the window when I got home and sure enough, there was screwdriver marks where somebody was trying to break in. Wake-up call.
Just got back from a Phoenix Suns–Portland Trailblazers pre-season game at McKale center. It was pretty cool, got to see Stoudamire and Scottie Pippen, Kidd and Hardaway. Of course I was rooting for the blazers, and they won.
Lots more to say, but at the same time there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to write, and read. I’m starting to read the Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins, just because it’s a sequel to Selfish Gene, and it’s kind of the theme of the screenplay I’m writing.
Can’t remember what my exact workout schedule was, except I didn’t ride my bike to work at all, but today I ran 13 miles in 1:35. I am toying with the idea of doing the Tucson marathon even though I really only have 7 weeks left to train.
October 23, 1999 – Tucson
My second week at IBM and it wasn’t any better. Matter of fact, I don’t think it could get any worse. I did get my computer, but not until Friday, and still no word of an assignment. And I did finally meet Paul Lougee, my manager, but he is still more or less unavailable and surely not any better than Ron Horton. Of course there is the other things to complain about which I knew getting into it, the commute sucks, the bureaucracy sucks, the huge corporate big brother atmosphere can make you feel rather miniscule and uncreative, the whole place just seems to lack ambition and efficiency, . . . it’s amazing that a place like this is so successful. Anyway, I might be able to live with all this, if it wasn’t for the fact that I got paired with a homicidal maniac for an office mate. I’m not sure what I mentioned in my last journal entry, but I almost feel like I should get this down in writing, because I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if the guy goes postal and kills dozens of people including me. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to read the writing on the wall:
Thomas Moe (profile of a potential mass-murderer): okay, so the guy was born in Custer, South Dakota. I guess other normal people are. But going to Flagstaff as a teenager and living in a teepee for ten years is a little anti-society. Not that I wouldn’t, but I’m just setting the stage. He worked on a ranch and hated society, went through a series of break-ups and was “poor as a door-mouse”. Meanwhile he’s being educated at NAU. Okay so this educated recluse wanted to, could have lived out his life like this, but he’d been corrupted by what he had learned. He felt society’s pressures. But he met a few people that must have made a lasting impression, that he respected . . . people like himself that wanted to live out their lives in Teepees on the Indian reservation, log cabins in Helena, Montana (I’m not making any of this up, even though it sounds like the Unabomber), or a $7000 cabin (his parents, who are about to die) in Custer, South Dakota . . . and not do it as a door-mouse. . . these people he met while living in his teepee accomplished their goal by going down to society (Phoenix or Tucson, which previously he thought should be fenced in to keep them away from him) and working for corporate America for 20 years to make enough money to retire to their cabin in the woods. He could do this, he could sacrifice 20 years of his life to this. So he moves to Tucson, and so far has done pretty well. He went to U of A and worked for the state and ended up at IBM, and has been there for ~20 years, which maybe was a few years past his goal. He’s 52 and he wants to retire at 55, he’s almost there. He’s worth a million dollars (a lot of stuff to tell your office mate in the first week isn’t it?), but he wants just a little more, 1.5 million. He spends half of his days talking to his AMEX financial advisor, shuffling high-volatile funds around. In the recent mini-crash he casually told me lost over 50 thousand dollars. He tried to act like this didn’t phase him, but it did. He needs that 1.5 million, it’s not much according to him, considering he’s got kids to put through college. Perhaps other unforeseen factors have arisen, he got married and has an emotionally detached relationship with his wife Tina. We ran into her in the hallway, and by the way he was acting to her, I thought she was a co-worker, until afterwards he informed me that was his wife. And on my first day he was showing me how to blind copy people on e-mail, and the example he used when he might blind copy somebody is when you send an e-mail to your wife and you want to copy a female co-worker (Denise) on it, but you don’t want your wife to know because she will get jealous. He lives on a secluded ranch out near Benson. J6 as he calls it. Okay, so he’s got two kids, a nice house and a wife and a million dollars, is this everything he wanted? How could I forget the arsenal of weapons? No secluded ranch is complete without the over 50 different exotic hunting rifles, pistols, and automatic weapons. He’s described many of them to me in detail, but I don’t care or know enough about the guns to write down the details. But he carries a pistol in his pocket at all times (though unfortunately he can’t bring one to work, so he only carries mace or pepper spray). But “hey, Pepper spray is useful”. Especially when you decide to adopt two more kids and one of them is an unruly teenager. What way to better subdue him then a shot of pepper spray to the face to show him who’s boss? I’m not exaggerating any of this. He adopted this 16-year old kid and had him for a couple of weeks. The kid did what most rural teenagers from broken-homes that get adopted by a psychotic control freak would do, he would go out past his bed-time and would lie about where he had been. So one night Thomas Moe stays awake, with gun and pepper spray on his holster, waiting for him to come home. When the kid comes through the front door, he asks the kid whether he will obey him . . . that anyone in that house must obey him and follow by his rules. The kid says “fuck you” so Tom pulls out his pepper spray and sprays him a good “healthy dose” right in the face. Then he waited for the kid to retaliate. “I was ready, I had my loaded pistol in my pocket, I would have blown his face off, I wasn’t going to let this 16-year old kid into my house unless he was going to obey by my rules”. But luckily, “damn that pepper spray sure works!” The kid recoils in pain and Tom called 911 and had his adopted son removed from the premises. What happened to him? Tom didn’t know and didn’t care. (Tom shared this story with me after he asked me if I had any guns and I said no, and said I should at least have pepper spray, “You know, pepper spray can actually be quite useful, let me give you an example . . .”) And this was Tom’s version of the story. I wonder what the kids version was? Or whatever patterns of abuse have occurred in his home. This was only an example he brought up to illustrate the power of pepper spray. Of course there is the daily hunting stories that he tells me, describing all his guns and long-bows like they were his pride and joy. Bragging about the dozen elk, the hundreds of deer, the 50 “pigs”, etc. that he has killed. One story in particular didn’t strike me as normal behavior, even amongst the hunting population. He got a tag to shoot an antelope down near Sonoita. I’ll skip all the part about how far he had to crawl along his belly and how far he had to walk to not get a close shot. Eventually they are driving back and they see a herd of 500 antelope running through a pass. They knew they wouldn’t catch them on foot, so they set out in the truck along the plains (“illegal activity, mind you”). He had three guns which were old exotic guns that you had to hand-load so you only had one shot from each. They singled out one antelope from the herd who had a broken leg, he was basically running on three legs, the third leg was hanging like a pendulum by a tendon. He took three shots from the moving vehicle and missed them all. And that was all he had. So they stopped the truck and he jumped out and chased the antelope on foot. By this time the three-legged antelope was completely worn out and couldn’t even run. He wrestled the (small three-legged) beast, grabbing it by the antlers . . eventually he jumped on the antelopes back and pulled out his hunting knife and slit the animals throat. Is this normal behavior? What do you say when some psycho tells you this story, besides act interested and say, well at least the animal was sick and had a broken leg. Okay, so forget about the hunting. A lot of people have unusual extra-curricular hobbies. What really disturbs me is his attitude towards his fellow employees. He’s told me about he’s survived three rounds of layoffs. But if it ever came down to it “you never know what someone might do. Some people have a family to raise, they’ve been working here all their lives, what else could they do? I don’t bring a gun to work, but (he points to his fanny pack) I don’t leave home without my pepper spray. And it’s not one of those mini ones, no sir, those are useless, go and get yourself the big cannisters” . . . he hates authority, he’s got a postcard of a bunch of jackasses next to his computer that is captioned “board of directors”. He hates being told what to do. The only work I’ve seen him do in the past two weeks (besides talking to his wife, hunting buddies and financial advisor for hours at a time on the phone) is compile a huge spreadsheet of who is working on what, for everyone in the department. He figured out how many pages people were responsible and tallied up the results. Mind you, he is no manager or even a team leader. He sent this to everybody and I eavesdropped on the repercussions (I pretended like I didn’t know what he was doing, nor what these people were talking about). But various people came in and tried to reason with him that you couldn’t measure someone’s productivity strictly by the number of pages they are responsible for. It seems like most everyone has a (healthy) fear of Thomas Moe, and tip-toe around him because perhaps they know he is a walking time-bomb ready to go postal. He argues with them telling them he will resign if people are going to tell him what to do. When they leave the room he mutters to himself over and over “I fucked up, I fucked up, I fucked up. . . “ and then there is a long disturbing silence and I glance over and he is staring at a blank computer screen. And then of course there are his spontaneous departures, at least 2 or 3 in the past two weeks, where he has left work early (like before lunch) and asks me to “cover for him”. What am I supposed to say? So I told him that I didn’t feel comfortable lying for him. He says, “you don’t have to lie, there’s nothing to hide, what the donkeys don’t know, want hurt them . . “. Yesterday I got in at 8 a.m. and he was already on his way out (he gets in around 7 a.m.) saying that he had to go home to fix his computer (is this an emergency?). He seemed really sketchy and my imagination started to wander and I envisioned him going home to get a gym bag of automatic weapons. I looked around for any other signs that I should be worried about (as I staked out a get-away plan). Next to his computer was a note that he had evidently written to himself that said “That does it! As of this morning I quit my medication! I don’t care what anyone says about my homicidal tendencies! –T”. If that’s not a plea for help (or a warning sign), taken with all the other hints, I don’t know what is. Needless to say after reading that, I was even more worried and was wondering what the hell I was doing there like a sitting duck, waiting for this guy to go home and get his guns and return. Thomas Moe was a recipe perfectly ripe to go postal. The bottom line was what was I doing there in the first place? No job is worth that, let alone some crummy job that wasn’t going well to begin with. I left early on Friday and stopped off at B+H on the way home to chat with Ralph. He was sympathetic to my situation and as coincidence would have it, Christa is leaving the company (no surprise) so there was an open position to be filled. My position was filled already, which is probably for the better as I would have rather have Christa’s job and work for Ralph and not Ron. The only catch is the powers above Ralph have ordered a hiring freeze in Tucson. So he would have to see if they would make an exception. I’m not even worried about that (though it is reassuring to know I would have that possibility to fall back on), for the moment I’m worried about whether I should even go into work on Monday.
October 26, 1999 – Tucson
Didn’t even bothering to go to work on Monday. I called Helen Palmer and told her everything. And then talked to Paul and pretty much told him everything. After I got off the phone I had a sick feeling and my nerves were shot. I was literally pacing around the house, checking out the window. I regretted telling Paul because I knew he would say something to Tom. And to top it off, I was out of a job, the clock was ticking, nothing in the papers. Of course, there’s always B+H but that is not necessarily a sure thing. I figured it would be a good opportunity to get some writing done. I got an invitation from Donald to go to the Sundance Film Festival in January, and went to his production companies “Banzai! Entertainment” website. They are in search of scripts, so it is just more motivation to work on the screenplay I am working on. I’ve got about 30 pages done.
Oh yah, the first thing I did Monday morning was shave my head. The superficial motivation was that we were coming up with Halloween costumes and I decided I was going to be the Dalai lama. I’ve got the Saffron gown, the Tibetan Prayer beads, it was just that my hair didn’t fit the image. I looked too much like a guy that was working at IBM. The underlying, subconscious, motivation was that it was some sort of necessary cleansing, to make myself anonymous, yet also not anonymous in the sense that it’s not a great haircut to have for a job interview. But maybe I wanted to force myself into that situation, so I wouldn’t be stupid enough to take another stupid corporate job like that. In any event, I don’t know what possessed me, but I woke up on Monday morning, grabbed the shears, walked out onto the cold patio and shaved my head.
This morning I went into IBM security to chat with this guy Don Valoze, who was the spitting image of R. The resemblance was uncanny, not just the physical resemblance, but his mannerisms and the way he carried himself. I told him all the details. After prying, I got him to confide that, they had already confronted psycho Tom, and that he said he was joking (Paul confronted him, with Don in the next room). Nevertheless he was sent home and they had a pow-wow with HR to figure out what to do with this guy. So my meeting with Don was after the fact, just a written report to back up their decision. Don also mentioned that more than anything, Paul Lougee was upset that he lost me and wanted me back. It was apparent that he was trying (Paul probably asked him to) to scope out my reaction. I told him no way, no how, that even if it was a joke, it was a sick joke, and that besides that I wasn’t crazy about Paul as a manager. So that’s that. I spoke my peace, and feel a little more reassured that Tom Moe won’t come after me with a hunting knife or a cross-bow, but at the same time, I feel even more betrayed and sickened by the fact that somebody would play a “joke” (assuming it was a joke) like that to a new employee, and also to the fact that Paul confronted him right away after asked him to be discrete. It’s in the past. Onward.
Just got off the phone with a guy named Sam Wisdom. . . I answered and ad about somebody needing a manuscript typist, for some book about Tahiti, I figured what the hell even though it was just typing and it though it was non-fiction . . . ends up it’s a novel, and he was actually looking for someone that wanted to do a little more than just type, help him do research, etc. He said he had already hired somebody and was trying to cut me short, but I kept throwing in little things about how I had been to Tahiti (he hasn’t, he’s relying purely on research), how I got Dengue fever and his ears perked up. He asked me about my background and I told him how I had done mostly technical writing, and then I told him about IBM and he wanted to know the whole story and I told him all that, but still. He said he had committed to somebody already, but if they didn’t work out he would give me a call.
'Tex" + Max as themselves for Halloween '99
November 08, 1999 – Tucson
Still unemployed, but have been able to complete “The Origin of Virga” -- considering I did very little work on it before two weeks ago, and essentially started re-writing it from that point anyway, it took me two weeks to write the 110 page script. Bedder-½ did a run through to test the dialogue. Writing dialogue that was meant to be spoken is definitely a different art altogether. I’m not sure what Bedder-½ thinks about it, she thinks it is too “scientific” that they don’t really talk about the social events going on around them, the death of Dr. Mac or Jesus, or their actual relationship, that everything is given in scientific metaphors, but that was my intention. I also wrote most of the main roles specifically for latinos and blacks. And another factor that could prevent it from going to screen is that it involves two fires, one of which is a forest fire, otherwise it would be low budget. We’ll see. Today I will make 5 copies, one to go out to be registered, one for Max and Ginny, one for Donald and Banzai!, one for Eric as I received an e-mail saying he would be willing to help me out, and one to Roger who will probably not be much of a help, but hey it’s worth a try.
What else is going on . . . so yah I dressed up as the Dalai Lama for Halloween, went to Max and Ginny’s, who were dressed up as some sort of 70’s couple, Max looked like he belonged in the Beastie Boy’s Sabotage video. Jess was Andy Warhol and she looked pretty cool, I found her a blond wig and we cut it all up, got her a black turtleneck, bushy eyebrows, etc. The funny thing is when we were shopping for her stuff, we kept running into Max in three different stores, it was like we were doing the circuit right in his footsteps. We’d catch him with Elvis glasses, or a moustache, or tacky loafers, and he would insist that they were for his brother. . . who was supposedly going to be a super-hero. Gwynn came with us, she was some sort of Dominatrix with blue hair and a whip. Scott was “shaheeb”, like Lawrence of Arabia meets Connan. I had to take Gwynn back to our house for a sec, so I quickly changed into my Lizard skin cowboy boots, tight onion-skin running shorts, Jess’s tiger skin shirt (which of course was super-tight on me) a moustache and my old leather surveyor hat. It was a “tex” spin-off, but most people perceived me as The Crocodile Hunter gone Richard Simmons.
Went out with Max and Ginny this past weekend to Karaoke at Famous Sam’s which was uneventful (unless you enjoy seeing white trash botch country songs), but Saturday night we all went to see this hypnotism show at Laff’s. It was pretty funny. This guy (Rusty Z) got volunteers on the stage, and eventually dwindled it down to four woman that he had hypnotized, and I believe he did indeed. He made them do all sorts of ridiculous things, like electrified their underwear, or made them say stupid things, or made them be in the butt-bongo band. Their was some real beauts in the audience that were wasted and were ruining it for everybody. A couple of them got into this big fight in the parking lot, yelling and screaming, throwing punches, trying to drive away, eventually the guy managed to drive off with some guy that was trying to jump in the back of the truck, he was hanging onto the side being dragged onto Broadway, seriously deranged people. We went to Congress and besides another scene with bouncers kicking people out, it was just a casual evening hanging out in the patio of the Cup, socializing.
Saw Being John Malkovich, it was brilliant. I’m truly inspired, whoever wrote the script (Charlie Kaufmann?) is a genius. The acting was also very good, well directed, etc. Not only an ingenious premise, but it just continued to take bizarre and unexpected plot twists. The idea of people using someone else’s body to “channel”. The puppet stuff, and the documentary on Malkovich as puppeteer was hilarious. I’m more inspired than ever. Now I’m waiting for the sequel, perhaps a documentary on the making of Being John Malkovich.
But, now back to my job search so I can keep the bread on the table. Still waiting on Ralph to get back to me, and am going to call this guy right now at Global Atmospherics, to see if I can land an interview there. It would be monitoring lightning strikes on this world-wide network. Kind of weird and serendipitous in light of “The Origin of Virga”
Still don’t whether I will run the Tucson ½ marathon. My calves are killing because I ran the stadium steps 10 times on Friday, so I didn’t run yesterday. Maybe today.
All sorts of stuff going on with Jess and the lab. Dr. Nelson, some bigwig that does cancer research at the medical center expressed an interest in having her do a post-doc with him. After a big fiasco between Dr. lei and Scott, fighting over the rights to information, Dr. Lei offered her 45–50K to go to Maryland. Even if we don’t go, it’s still the principle of it. No matter, things are looking up for her career, options are opening up. But she still has to focus on her upcoming prelims.
November 09, 1999 – Tucson
I ran 13 miles in 1:27:15 this morning— that’s a 6:42 pace! Finally broke through the 7-minute barrier (for an extended period of time). Maybe it was running the stadium steps last Thursday (upper calves were sore as hell for days afterward), maybe that lengthens your stride or something.
Back on the unemployed rollercoaster. Tuesday I finally found out from Ralph that B+H couldn’t hire me back. Not only is John Balga continuing the hiring freeze, but they are also thinking about trimming back some deadwood. I had an interview with Global Atmospherics. They make lightning detection equipment and have a big grid that monitors lightning strikes all over the US and Canada. The position is for an “FCC Operator”, who just sits in the control room. Sounds like an okay job for a writer. You just sit there and don’t do much besides hourly backups and monitoring of the UNIX system (unless something goes wrong). But the only problem is it’s only $10-12/hr. it’s part-time and it’s working the night shift and weekends. After hearing the news from B+H I was desperate for anything. But I don’t know how interested they are in me, they were kind of like, why the fuck do you want this job? I don't, it's only $10/hr part-time, may as well not even have a job. So then I called TekWork and Bingo! I always seem to have good luck with them, she just got an opening for a lead tech writer for some company called TCI (Total Control Inc.) that make inventory or point of sale software for the grocery and drug industry. Pretty boring stuff but the pay will probably be like $25-30/hr. and it’s a 6-month contract position, so maybe do that for six months and save up a stockpile of dinero, well, I shan’t get my hopes up too high. The interview is in an hour.
Max read my screenplay and seemed to like it. He thought the ending needed work, and I think he is right. Rather than have the flash flood wash Dana away, perhaps they would look up to the source of the waterfall and an image of Dana would appear, standing naked in the moonlight, like is that really him, or he is some sort of deity? The development of Dr. Mac’s suicide also needs development.
I’m already working on another screenplay. Two parallel border stories that merge — one about a couple that takes this guy (secretly into a cave in southern Arizona), they come across a coyote, the guy gets shot, and the other guy, Gene decides to market this cave as a drug/illegal alien smuggling tunnel. Meanwhile a exploration geologist is working on the other side of the border, meets Paloma, who has a kid, her husband died trying to smuggle pot across, she takes care of her father. Father dies, the geologist, Fred, takes her under her wing and needs to get her across the border. So he utilizes the tunnel and discovers a ring of corruption that runs deeper than he had imagined. Not sure how it ends. Maybe he kills Gene and they retreat to Mexico via the tunnel?
November 19, 1999 – Tucson
More unemployed than ever. That thing with TCI that possibly could’ve been $30/hr. fell through. They never called back. Finally I got a hold of TekWork and Emily told me they were looking for someone with more experience. And nothing else is going on, nothing in the works. Don’t know how long we can live on plastic, paying credit card bills with checks from other credit cards, in a vicious circle. Figures. Just when I get out of debt, shit I don’t even know if we officially got of debt, it was hard to say, we bought the car, I bought a new bike, etc. things were looking up, but no. Seems to be a trend with me. The second I get out of debt something always happens. I don’t know what to do, I’m getting close to just taking a job delivering pizzas or something. Even then, nobody will hire me because they think I will probably quit when I find something better. . . so I need to start lying. I sent Roger my screenplay and begged him for anything that he might know of. I’ve sent my screenplay to Eric, to Donald, . . no reply. I just want to at least give them a chance. Then I will just have to do it myself.
I’m already well into a second screenplay which will probably be called "Piñata" . . . I wanted to call it “The Crossing” but Cormac McCarthy already took that. Maybe "Border Crossing." I don’t know. It’s really two stories in one. I pilfered “Museum”, and added a character Tina just to add a female perspective. And I guess the whole outcome of their caving experience changes in that they discover that the cave is being used to smuggle drugs and illegal aliens. The righteous guy dies, but the other two sell out and capitalize on the opportunity. Meanwhile, a field geologist, Dizzy, is working on both sides of the border, meets a young cutie named Paloma who’s father grows pot, and whose husband died somewhere smuggling so she is stuck with a son, Cesar. Dizzy becomes disillusioned with the exploration, realizing the implications, and simultaneously uncovers the underground tunnel, and when they attempt to use it, they discover that it is all a scam. It ends happily, they steal all their money and go back to Mexico and retire on a ranch.
My birthday is in a few days. My life is ⅓ over. I’m ½-way to “retirement” if I believe in such a thing. I am entering the middle of my life where I am supposed to be making all the money. Hah. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing yet. But I will figure it out. Eventually.
November 28, 1999 – Tucson
Late November of 1999 and I am sitting out on a lounge chair in the sun on a Sunday, late morning, Cocteau twins emanating from the bedroom, laundry hanging in the sun, sunflowers sprouting from the ground, blue sky overhead, silence punctuated by the occasional plane buzzing by overhead. I am writing on the Mac so I'm not sure what my last journal entry was, but suffice to say, I'm sure it was a while. I need to get back into the habit of journal writing more, as I probably say in every journal entry.
Still unemployed. I guess if I was smart I would go down to the unemployment office, but I guess I have too much pride. Something will come up. People probably postpone hiring people until after thanksgiving, but hopefully not after the holidays entirely. Geez. Maybe I should collect unemployment and hope that something comes up in January. Look at the bright side. Hopefully I'll get a big refund check for my taxes.
We had Scott over for Thanksgiving. Didn't get a big bird but got two little cornish game hens instead. One hen for Soctt and Bedder-½ and I shared another one so Scott didn't feel like a sinner. Bedder-½ cooked up a great little spread. Then we watched Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill and an assortment of other videos. We got cable back because U of A basketball rocks this year. Two exciting new freshmen in the backcourt, Gardner and [Gilber] Arenas, and of course, Wright, more powerful and dominant than ever. And even though Wright had a terrible performance against Kentucky for the NIT championship, they still had the depth to win it all.
Last night, Max and Ginny took us out for my birthday. We went through a dry spell with them, I don't know what was going on with them, but for a couple of weeks they weren't returning our calls and we thought maybe they were mad at us about something. But yesterday they were back in their prime. The day actually started out at Old Tucson, a lame and cheesy rip-off, but Bedder-½ nor I had ever been, and well, we do live in Tucson . . . at least now we know we weren't missing much. Then they took us to Takamatsu and we did the Korean BBQ thing, hot spicy fishy soup. Then we went to the shelter for a beer and after a period of indecisive barhopping, ended up at Bisonwitches and got embroiled in some deep conversation. Bisonwitches closed on us, but we continued talking even once we were parked in front of their house for a good half hour. Life is a queer and funny thing. And it's like the sole reason we're stuck here is to figure out and sometimes it's like lifting yourself by your bootstraps. We all have kind of different beliefs, but at the same time we more or less agree, and when it comes down to it, I think that most people share similar beliefs but a lot of it is a matter of semantics and language-- what words mean to certain people-- "soul", "god", "energy", etc. really depend on your cultural and educational upbringing, etc.
I have intentionally not been logging my exercise activities, but I have been working out and running and am ready to run the Tucson ½ marathon next weekend. I wanted a break from the humdrum of a regiment and just figured I would run or workout when I felt like it, and it hasn't really caused me to slack off, rather I probably get better workouts as I listen to my body more on a daily basis and let it tell me what I need to do.
Only about $40 left in our bank account so I interview for a position down at Cyprus and got it. It’s for a core splitter. I went down there (35-minute drive) and this guy, Greg Baugh gave me a tour of the mine, which I guess was my “interview”. It was pretty educational actually. But the job itself is fairly simple and redundant. You take core samples that the drill rigs pull up and split them in half evenly. Half the sample goes to be assayed and the other half goes into storage. It’s fairly physical and very mindless. And it’s $12/hr. I managed to postpone any commitment until Monday when I have to go get MSHA’d and all that, or actually Friday afternoon when I have to get a physical and drug screen, so I have until then to be made a better offer. I guess it could be worse. Beats working at a fast food joint or something. Now I can only wait for people to call me back. And I’m sure they will in hordes once I take the Cyprus job, but oh well. Isn’t that life?
December 5, 1999 – Tucson
So I set a Friday deadline to give Georgeanne my official word about the Cyprus job. I was supposed to go on Wednesday to do my on-site training but I made up some story about an interview to try to procrastinate as long as possible. It paid off. I got a call on Wednesday from this guy Steve [V]. He wanted me to interview and I told him my predicament so I could get the interview asap, had the interview Thursday. It’s a pretty strange place, not the greatest job in the world, but whatever, it’s job, and it’s tech writing and I’ll learn FrameMaker and PageMaker and well, but it’s definitely not IBM. It’s about the opposite. Some tiny software company that makes business software that piggy backs off Lotus Notes . . about five people in a sketchy office in a strip mall on Ft. Lowell and Stone. Didn’t get to ask that many questions, at this point I don’t care, it’s a job. I told Georgeanne that I would let her know by Friday at 10:30 whether I was gonna take the job. At 10:00 Automation Centre (the place I interviewed with) called me an offered me a job for $35,000 with benefits. Could be better, but whatever, I’ll take it. Hopefully it will be tolerable. I start tomorrow.
I was supposed to run the ½ marathon this morning, I went to get the registration stuff all the way up at El Conquistadore, and the whole logistics of the thing was a pain in the ass. As I was falling asleep and thinking about waking up at 5:30 a.m. and running in 35-degree weather, I was starting to dread it and was thinking why? What was I trying to prove and to who? Even with Bedder-½ dropping me off, she still couldn’t park at the finish, and we would have had to take shuttle busses back and forth, and I guess I was just plain lazy and wanted to sleep in. So I didn’t even do it. Instead I went hiking in the Tucson mountains, started on the David Vetnam (sp?) trail, and it just wasn’t interesting enough, so I cut straight up the hillside and bushwhacked up steep gully’s, half-climbing, up the highest mountain in the Tucson mountains. I could see Tucson, Kitt Peak, Mexico, pretty much everywhere.
Still trying to finish up Piñata Crossing, not too much to go. [again, finished it, but never did anything with it...]
Scott is staying here, now. He is going to Sydney in a week or two, and has already moved out of his apartment, so he will be staying here until he leaves. Bedder-½ has one week left before her prelim. So a lot of stuff going on this week.
December 18, 1999 – Tucson
I’m sitting here alone listening to the Counting Crows. Everyone’s gone, Bedder-½ went to the Bay Area for a long weekend (until Wednesday), Scott is gone for good to Oz via Rarotonga (partying it up in the Banana Court bar as we speak, no doubt), Max and Ginny went to Cave Creek for the weekend and me here, with a weekend to myself. I’m supposed to go caving tomorrow in Bells, but I am debating whether I want to waste a day on that. I need to back up a bit.
For starters, I started a new job for some company called the Automation Centre. They make business “software”, and software is in quotes because it’s software in a Lotus Notes environment. Pretty boring stuff. Pretty much everything sucks about the job. It’s in a crappy facility that’s cold and the beachmaster (Steve [B]) is too cheap to put on the heat. He just wears old ripped up sweaters. The office is really split across two “shops” in a strip mall. I’m wedged into a corner back in a server room at a desk that my knees don’t fit under, and that doesn’t have any drawers. A computer (that is unbearably slow and has no room left on its drives) takes up my whole desktop, so I really have nowhere to put my things or organize anything. If you want office supplies, such as a pen, you have to “borrow” them out of this basket and return them when you are done. It’s a joke. I’m right next to the bathroom so every time someone takes a shit I have to smell it. I’m also next to the water cooler and the refrigerator so I get many visitors and disruptions. It’s really a mom and pop kind of operation, the owner, Steve B, is married to the office manager, and the other administrative person is her sister. Actually, I’m not sure what people’s official titles are, or who does what. They kind of just gravitate towards different things (if they do anything at all). Steve is the typical slimey, phony businessman who, while friendly enough, gives off an air of being very sketchy and untrustworthy (I picked this up at the interview, but what the hell, I needed a job desperately). Their product sucks and their documentation sucks even worse and they have completely unrealistic expectations. My direct boss is Steve [V], this sluggish, deadbeat nerd that used to work for Modular. He checks up on me periodically just because it seems like he is “trying” to do his job, not a natural manager with leadership skills. But nice enough, nevertheless. There are some interesting people working there, there’s Dan M, a first generation Irish-American sales guy who wears a tie every day. There’s Nick the Greek, who is usually gone doing installs all over the country and world so has some good stories to tell. There’s the other tech writer Ed, who works 7-7 (24 hours straight) as a firefighter/paramedic, and then shows up at the Acentre at 9 a.m., with red eyes and an appetite. He’s crazy, two full-time jobs and a family to take care of, including twins. I thought I had it bad. Of course Ed has a lot of interesting stories to tell, fighting fires, saving people’s lives, watching people die. But Ed is just hanging out tell we get caught up on documentation, which really is Monday. They have a big release (4.9) on Monday and expected the documentation to be done by then. It was a joke that I’m not proud about having my name on, but what can you do.
What else can I complain about? At least it’s close enough (Ft. Lowell and 1st, about 4.5 miles) that I can ride my bike. But a couple of days ago I was cruising down Ft. Lowell when I got pegged by some truck making a left turn. I slammed into the side of him, but managed to keep my hands on my handlebars and stay upright. I bounced off of him and up on the curb. It was partially my fault for not riding more defensively, you have to pretty much assume that every driver is a complete idiot and will not use their turn signals or look out for bikes. And riding in heavy traffic it gets too hard to second guess what everybody is doing. He stopped and asked me if I was alright and I just told him to watch out for cyclist in the future and use his turn signal. I rode away feeling fine, but once I was at work sitting down at my computer my side started hurting more and more. By the time I went home and went to sleep, I was really worried that maybe I had fractured a rib or caused some sort of internal damage. But I woke up and felt better.
So . . . . BEDDER-½ PASSED HER PRELIMS!!!!! The time finally came (last Monday), all this worrying and all this studying, all in three hours of open brain surgery. I remember my Masters oral and I’m sure mine was nothing compared to this. She did great. Everyone said so. I just only wish I could’ve seen it. She left the room for a minute and a half, that’s all it took for them to decide. Joy Winzerling said she only wished that all the PhD candidates could do this well. (the next day another peer of hers took his orals and they made him stand outside for 45 minutes. He passed, but they had a list of deficiencies, classes he had to take. Bedder-½ had no such thing. Yah, my little Candidate. I’m going to get her a “Candidate” football jersey to stuff in her stocking. I’m so proud of her. And this boosted her esteem up a notch. Not only did she have her orals on Monday, but then she had her Cancer biology Final yesterday, so she couldn’t celebrate that much. But she did great on her final and then hopped a plane to SFO where she’s at now spending the weekend in Frisco with her parents and K and then up to Mendocino for a few more days. I couldn’t get the time off from work.
Oh yah, did I finish complaining about my new job? Did I forgot to mention that the pay sucks, and the “benefits” package is lousy. I get $35k/year and so far I’ve been expected to work about 9-10 hours a day. So really that’s about half as much as I was making at B+H. The contract says you’re expected to be there 8-5, and even more as required. And I get only 7 days of paid vacation, ONLY after I’ve been working there for a year, and ONLY after my 90-day trial period is up. And my free health insurance only kicks in ONLY after my 90-day trial period. So when we go to Santa Fe on Thursday before X-mas, I will have to take an unpaid day off.
So, Saturday morning, Bedder-½ is in SF, Scott is ½ way to Oz. Yep, after staying here for two weeks, he finally got on his plane. It was sad to see him go, but also good— kind of like the Good Will Hunting thing. And of course it was nice to have our couch back and his stockpiles of possessions out of the way. But nevertheless, he’s gone. I’m sure we’ll see him again.
I’m supposed to go caving in Bells tomorrow, some expedition that Bryan has been organizing for months, but I’m kind of dreading going just because it’s a waste of a day and there is some many other things I would rather be doing. Like finishing Piñata Xing. Like finding stocking stuffers for Bedder-½’s stocking. Like cleaning this house in the aftermath of Scott and neglect because Bedder-½ and I have been too busy to clean or water the plants. I kind of wanted to go to rub elbows with Ralph being that the first of the year is coming up and maybe B+H might get more $. But There is many beginners going, and it’s a large group and I would probably find myself worrying about people’s safety and the cave getting trashed. I hope I am not turning into one of these types that is like “I used to climb, I used to cave” and now I just write about it. I mean, Piñata is about a cave in SE AZ, shouldn’t I be going down to breathe some cave air and refresh my memory? But then I would never have time to write about it. Catch-22 (speaking of which, Joseph Heller died a few days ago). I can always use my accident as an excuse, which is partially the truth, my ribs do hurt and I don’t think it would feel to good to crawl around on my belly. I’m still debating.
December 26, 1999 – Santa Fe
Bedder-½ got back from the bay area on Wednesday night. Thursday morning we left for Santa Fe. We went via Globe and the White mountains and then up through Holbrook and the Four Corners. Here, I started to hand-write my journal:
“Our anniversary and I’m sick as a dog. Laid up in the St. Francis Hotel. High fever. Flashbacks of exploring abandoned bullrings in Axixic. My body is a battlefield. Last night my body was trying to cook the virus. It actually felt good. I was very hot and comfortable, though I couldn’t sleep. This morning I got up and took a hot shower then proceeded to throw up. My body is trying to purge itself. Shrimp Vindaloo and Tikka Massala from last night’s meal, mixed with stomach acids. My mind was working all night, trying to make sense of the illness, of this foreign virus that had invaded it. We drove through Globe and Show Low to Holbrook and the through the 4-corners. Beautiful red cliffs tinged with a dusting of snow. Endless plains, big skies. Now I feel better, but Bedder-½ is out seeing the Georgia O’Keefe museum and I’m just looking at the blue sky out the window.”
I fell asleep at that point, after writing the first sentence to a story – “They got Memo chained to the lemon tree in the courtyard, so I’m pinch-hitting for the village idiot.” I had taken some Nyquil and was in a stupor.
Bedder-½ didn’t in fact, go see the Georgia O’keefe. Luckily she came back to check up on me and I forced myself up and out into the freezing air. We went to the Goergia O’keefe museum and explored around Santa Fe. Ate Posole (New Mexican spelling) at the Plaza café. Then we drove around the suburbs trying to imagine if we could ever live there. Pretty cool architecture. And it’s not like that style is consolidated to one street of the Barrio like it is here in Tucson, every road you turn on has really cool looking houses. Even the trashy houses looked really cool. We drove out to Los Alamos to check that out and see if we could ever imagine ourselves living there. It’s a pretty creepy place. Especially when you’re jacked up on Nyquil. I had pretty much seen it the week I spent back there in what, 94? Not really the kind of place you’d want to live. We drove the loop road out and stopped at Bandelier Natl. monument. Hiked the trail up to the cliff dwellings. A few of them you could even climb up the ladders and go into the little cubby holes. Pretty cool to imagine that over a 1000 years ago Pueblo Indians were living there. The air was cold and stinging my lungs like shards of glass in my throat. We walked back along the frozen river, through the groves of juniper and pine.
That night we went out to Mexican Food. Can’t remember the name of the place. I had Mariachis serenade us (this was our anniversary dinner) with some song about comparing a woman to a gemstone. A nice change from hearing Feliz Navidad over and over. Slept a little better that night. The next morning we drove out to Taos. We drove up the mountain road through the pueblos of Chamayo and Nambe.
It started to snow, so we had a White Christmas! It didn’t stick too much, which was probably a good thing as we were driving desolate back roads with no chains or anything. We got to Taos and went out the Pueblo. We lucked out and hit it as they were having some sort of Christmas festivity where this group of dancers and musicians all decked out went to certain houses and did this dance and then got invited in for something, we don’t know. But watching the New Age Sante Fayers watching the Indians was even more entertaining. Complete beauts, woman with fur boots and tons of jewelry, leather jackets with tassels and Pueblo designs, guys with those whatever-you-call-those-smock things that go down to your ankles, like what Jim Carey was wearing and dumb and dumber, only these guys were serious, or faux-fur leopard fleece jackets, and gray-hair pony tails, knee-high lace up moccasins, the cowboy hats, it was the scene. And just like last time I was at the Taos Pueblo it was very weird in that you feel like you’re at a zoo. I mean, what do they do, pay the Indians to “act natural”, stand around and shoot the shit next to the ladders on their rooftops, all bundled up in their designed blankets, laughing at the stupid gringos like us gawking up at them? It wasn’t as bad as the last time I was there, then I was with [D] and he was taken pictures and getting in peoples faces and stuff, it was embarrassing. This time they didn’t let people take pictures (perhaps because of the festivities). We went into Taos and at lunch at that place overlooking the plaza. Went back to Santa Fe and rested up and played Uno in bed and watched Planet of the Apes, and then had x-mas dinner right there at the hotel. It was pretty nice. Traditional turkey with mashed potatoes and stuffing and white wine, etc. I was sick as a dog and trying to not to act it and suppressing my coughs. I’m sure I ruined it for Bedder-½. And of course we didn’t go out or anything. Oh yah, we had opened our stocking and presents the night before in our hotel room. Bedder-½ got me S&M (SF symphony orchestra and Metallica) which I’m listening to right now and which rocks hard, and a Tibetan prayer chime, amongst other things. We got a rain chime thing from her parents, a barometer swan from K and a book about wine from her dad and a dictionary from Granini.
Next morning we tried to find the mysterious staircase in the Santa Fe chapel but they were having Mass, so we had a croissant and coffee and jetted home in 7 hours through the snow-dusted New Mexico landscape.
dwelling in Bandelier
[...unfortunately our Dec 31, 1999 post is missing, or not so much missing but a repeat of the one above (we always use the previous entry as template for the next, so maybe we forgot to save it or accidentally saved over it....) which is unfortunate cuz end of year posts are always where we reminisce about the year + this lost post was for the end of decade, end of millenium! And all the Y2K stuff to go w/ it... remember what a huge deal they made about Y2K? How the world was coming to an end?]