(Last modified 23 August 1997.)

Wanderjahr: Week 50

Locations: Mountain View
Dates: 7/27/97 - 8/2/97

Sunday, Arthur and Mya and I went to Shakespeare Santa Cruz' production of As You Like It. Arthur and I have talked about attending Shakespeare Santa Cruz every summer since I came back to the Bay Area, but I've never actually managed to do it 'til now; last week I saw an article in the Metro about this production, we decided to go, and I called for tickets immediately. Now if only I could be as much on the ball about Cirque du Soleil, or, say, apartment-hunting.

After the show, during which we picnicked and snacked, we wandered around Santa Cruz for a while, eventually having dinner at a Brazilian place downtown. It got late, and Arthur and I headed back over the hill; Arthur had to be up in the morning, and I had a column to finish. Which I did, before going to bed.

Monday I had hoped to make final decisions about apartments, but continued to have problems reaching people and seeing places. Did see a place or two. It began to appear that I would have to choose between a giant but probably poorly-maintained place with a low rent and an antiquated stove, in an okay-but-not-great neighborhood, a little farther from SGI than the Betlo place; and a small but serviceable place much closer to SGI with higher rent.

Arthur and I spent the entire evening working on the structure of the screenplay, making more progress than we've made in one session since the very earliest days. We set ourselves some deadlines and worked out just what we need to do to finish a good second draft. I'm very pleased with the way that's going. Now I just need to get myself to write the remaining new scenes...

Tuesday morning I spent a few hours working on my travelogue and journal. Then I went to look at a new apartment, medium-sized, newly renovated, and very close to SGI. I took an application with me, and before I'd left the area realized that this was the one I definitely wanted. Went to a meeting at SGI -- I'm not officially back there yet, but this was a meeting about book design and layout, something I love to work on and argue about, so I was pleased to get a chance to participate. Also talked with various managers and confirmed that everyone there is excited about my coming back. Filled out the application, though wasn't sure quite what to do about blanks like "current residence," and left it at the manager's apt. In the evening, had dinner with Arthur and Jeremy and Vadim at Burrito Real, the sit-down version of La Costeña, the great burrito place down the street. Then we watched a movie.

Wednesday I continued working on travelogue, journal, and email, while waiting to hear from SGI and the apartment people. In the evening, El and Julie brought their new daughter Maya over to introduce her to us and a few other folks. I'm still fascinated by babies -- especially their hands. They're so tiny! Anyway, was great to see various high school friends again.

Thursday I had plans to go to a matinee, but didn't manage to get moving on time. Don't know what else I did; I think I spent the afternoon signing papers for my new apt (and paying rent on it). Eventually went to downtown Palo Alto and met Melissa B at her new job. We spent 45 minutes or so juggling in a park nearby, watched by onlookers and passersby of various ages, and joined for a few minutes by one of them. Then we went to dinner at one of the few Italian restaurants where I can actually tell the difference between good Italian food and the mediocre kind I make at home -- Palermo's, on University Ave. Yummy. I took Melissa and her bike home, then arrived late at Betlo, where Arthur and Kristen had been waiting all evening for me to show up so we could go down to Santa Cruz for the night (in order to spend the following day in Monterey). After a couple hours of communication problems and me being sulky and snippy, we decided to skip Monterey and just go to Santa Cruz the next day.

Which we proceeded to do. It was a lovely day, clear and hot (cue snide comment from East-coasterners about that being typical of California); several of us lazed about on the beach for most of the afternoon. We bobbed in the waves for a while, an amazing feeling -- I finally understood at a gut level what they mean when they say waves are energy traveling through the water. Then a too-large wave took me by surprise and tumbled me head over heels underwater, just one of nature's little reminders not to take things for granted. I spent several seconds completely terrified, certain (despite vestiges of rationality) that I was going to be swept out to sea underwater if I couldn't struggle to the surface; then the wave receded and left me sputtering, on my knees, in light surf. I struggled up the beach and lay down for an hour or so 'til the dizziness went away. Fortunately, the previous time a slightly oversized wave had hit me, Kristen had recommended taking my glasses off and leaving them with our stuff on the beach; if not for that, I'd almost certainly have lost 'em.

The others continued to play in the waves; I juggled for a while; eventually we got back in the car, sandy and a little sunburned, and headed back over the hill via the Screaming Freeway of Death. All in all, a pretty nice day.

Saturday I ran around doing errands -- dragged Arthur and Kristen along to help me shop for a futon (but I was too indecisive to choose one), picked up some comics, and so on. Ended up on Sarah's couch that evening, in order to be there early the next morning to leave for SIGGRAPH.


Movies, Books, etc.

As You Like It (Shakespeare Santa Cruz performance)
Nice minimalist set (you gotta love an outdoor performance, with a real tree growing up through the stage, of a play set in the woods); cool 1930s costumes (though the whole Grapes of Wrath parellel was lost on me); some very good acting (notably from Rosalind), some mediocre acting, some acting that would've been great if it hadn't been so totally out of place (Touchstone as W. C. Fields). Marvelous music which didn't go at all well with Shakespeare's (I hate to say it) mediocre lyrics; they tried to turn the show into a musical, and it's just not one.

Swingers
Funny movie more or less about getting over a breakup; at times it can be difficult to tell a couple of the characters apart, but with dialogue this sharp that doesn't matter much. Far superior, in my opinion, to other buddies-hanging-out-philosophizing-about-life movies (like, say, Diner).


Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>