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Home safe, but a little freaked out


Flight home was largely uneventful. Kam picked me up at the airport, and we went to a new Ethiopian place in San José for dinner. Was pretty good; more on that in another entry.

Then Kam took me home. We turned onto my street and saw that there were police cars and yellow tape all over the middle of the block.

As we got closer, we saw that there were police going into and out of the house next door to my (small) condo complex--the house whose (enormous) back yard is on the other side of my yard's fence. My driveway wasn't blocked off. Kam parked on the street a little ways down, and I asked a police officer (a) if it was okay to go to my house, and (b) what had happened. He said it was fine for us to go to my house, but that he wasn't allowed to talk about what had happened. But that there was a press release on the Mountain View police website.

So we checked the website, specifically the Public Safety press releases section, and learned that at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, the police received reports of gunshots from this area. They investigated, and discovered a man and a woman dead in the house next door.

I got kinda stressed. I didn't know the people who lived in that house at all, but I'm sad about them, and it's awfully close to home, both literally and metaphorically.

There's a phone number on the press release, for the public information officer; so I called her and left voicemail. She called me back an hour later (on a Saturday night; I was impressed) and left voicemail in which she said that everything was pointing to this not being some random incident (that is, it's not like someone is breaking into random houses and killing people), and added that there was no sign of forced entry. (She said she couldn't provide more info than that about the situation.) She also gave the same advice that she always gives everyone, to keep doors locked and windows closed and blocked. I found the call pretty reassuring; I'm a lot less tense about this than I was when I first found out what had happened. (I'm writing this around 12:30 Sunday morning, but setting it to post much later in the morning, so as not to make anyone fret if you happen to check my journal tonight.)

It was also reassuring to have Kam here. I thought about going and spending the night at her place, but I've been away from home too much lately, and will shortly be going away again, so really wanted to be home. She offered to stay over, but I think I would fret too much about that. My own room is such a total mess that I can't really imagine anyone sneaking into it during the night (and I'll put a chair or something behind the door anyway, just to reassure my subconscious so I can sleep), but the guest room is more or less clean and is down the hall, and I think I would be irrationally tense over the safety of anyone sleeping in that room tonight.

We decided that perhaps watching the (likely to be blood-soaked) last couple episodes of the BSG half-season would not be a good choice tonight; likewise finally watching the first episodes of Monk, which we'd been thinking about starting to watch. We would've started catching up on Dr. Who, but I hadn't downloaded the missing episode yet. The Indiana Jones movie also seemed like a probably bad choice. We thought about going to see Wall-E, but I think I'll enjoy that more when I'm in a lighter mood. We could've played with the Spore Creature Creator (which we've been really enjoying) if we'd thought of it, but instead we just hung out for a while. And I played Kam the song "Snuggle Puppy" from Philadelphia Chickens, which Mary Anne played for me a few weeks ago and which I find totally charming and delightfully cheery. I don't even mind that it's stuck in my head.

Anyway. The other reason for posting this note is to mention that I've been largely away from my personal email for the past several days--been busy--and I know that I owe several of you urgent responses. I'm gonna try to get through a bunch of stuff, especially magazine stuff, today/Sunday. I'm sorry for the delay.


Yowzers. Glad things are safe and that the police are being communicative. What a tremendous initial shock that must have been, though.

Joel and Sarah played me about the first half of the newest album in the Philadelphia Chickens series, Blue Moo, which was pretty good. What I hadn't realized was that after the first album--with songs written in a variety of styles after specific artists, but all performed by the same musician--they got the idea, and the nerve, to send some of the songs to the homaged-artists. And the artists recorded them! So albums two and three have many of their songs recorded by rather famous artists being amazingly cool and silly and happy about it. Brian Wilson sings a great song about a speed-racing turtle on the newest album.

On a similar, er, note... head to iTunes and download Great Big Sea's "Horatio the Penguin". I guarantee it will make you smile, or I'll refund your $0.99 personally.

A Mercury News article gives a little more info this morning. Among other things, it says the police are sure that both deaths were homicides; it wasn't a murder-suicide. It also says that a neighbor has indicated that the two people were brother and sister, but that hasn't been confirmed.

Wayman: Thanks for the note. The first Philadelphia Chickens album is performed by a whole bunch of people, many of them famous: Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, Eric Stoltz, the Bacon Brothers, etc. But on that album they're not the artists who are being pastiched/homaged (many of whom, I think, are no longer with us); that sounds like a fun idea.

Thanks for the pointer to Horatio the Penguin! The 30-second preview on the iTunes Store has already made me smile, and I'll go download the song after I get a chance to peek at some of the other songs on the album.

Oh no! That's dreadful.


Hang in there my brother. That is too close to home. In part for the psychological aspect of it, you might want to get another lock on your door--a chain bolt or a one-way deadbolt with no key on outside side, meant for locking only when you are in house.

It's been a long time since I've heard the original Philadelphia Chickens; and I guess the history the McNarys gave me was misremembered. Ah well. But the new one, with Neil Sedeka, B.B. King, and Brian Wilson all singing things they could very well have written, is so surreal and silly and beautiful. Not everything I heard was a winner, but I should definitely pick up this whole series sometime soon and not wait until (if ever) I have younglings :-)

I don't know if the other songs on the album with "Horatio" will make much sense. A little research (I wondered why Horatio has a daughter named Penelope, which seemed like such a random specific detail) reveals that this is from an episode of a very cool sounding Canadian kids television show about storytelling and roleplaying; each of the ten episodes had a different Canadian band performing a song synopsis of its story. So I have no idea if the other nine songs/bands are as clever or good or stand on their own as well. Penguins, you can always take them out of context and they remain funny :-)

I've got another whole album of name-bands singing children's songs which includes only two winners (to my tastes), Barenaked Ladies singing and chortling their way through "La la la la, lemon" from Sesame Street and Cake singing funky arrangement of "Mahna-mahna" from Off the Cuff the Muppet Show. (Album: For the Kids, 2002)

Oh, Jed I wish I could give you a big hug.

The confusion is in part because Philadelphia Chickens is not the first Philadelphia Chickens album. That is Rhinoceros Tap, which is all one vocalist. More information available on the web of course.

I am sorry for the outfreakingness. Sandra Boynton should help; she usually helps me.


Thanks, all; much appreciated, especially the hugs.

Jay: Not a bad idea. I'll think about it. The fact that I have a lot of windows on the ground floor, and a glass back door, makes me uncertain about the psychological value of such a lock; anyone who really wanted to get in could easily break or cut some glass. But I suppose it would be harder to do that without making a lot of noise than to just pick the lock.

But I ended up sleeping pretty soundly and pretty long last night (except for waking up a couple of times), so maybe my subconscious isn't as stressed about this as I thought it might be. We'll see.

V.: Aha! Shows how much I know. I keep doing this lately--correcting people by saying what I think are the facts, without verifying them, and then later discovering that I was just wrong about the facts. :( Anyway, thank you for the correction and explanation.

Wayman: Apologies for misleading you, and for acting like I knew what I was talking about. And thanks for the further info and pointers! And :) for the Off the Cuff reference.

Oh, Jed. These things shouldn't be. *hug*

Lots of hugs, Jed. What a shock it must have been. C read about it in the paper and asked "Isn't that near Jed?" I'm so sorry it was next door to you and you saw the police, but couldn't get an explanation right then.


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